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HISIOEICAL SKETCHES 



TOWN OF LEICESTER, 



MASSACHUSETTS, 



DUIilKG THE FIRST CENTURY FROM ITS SETTLEMENT. 



V.Y EMORY WASHBUHN. 



nOSTON: 
PHTNTED RY JOHN WILSON ANTI SON, 



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E\}i8 unjjrEtenlimg "Eftavt, 

TO RESCUE FROM OULIVION THE SIMPLE ANNALS OF MI KAIITK TOWN, 

I |lehkals to i^m, 
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, 



EMOJiY VVASHBUEN. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



INTKODUCTIOX, 

TN attempting to embody the local incidents which go to 
-*- make up the history of one of our municipal corporations 
called " Towns," it would be a matter of curious and interest- 
ing inquiry to trace the origin of these bodies politic. Nothing 
precisely like them had been known to the first settlers in 
New England, before their removal here ; though the idea 
may have been borrowed from tbe early division of England 
into Hundreds, or Tithings. These had their origin in a rude 
state of society, for the purposes of civil and domestic police. 
But the division of a territory into local districts by geo- 
graphical lines, and conferring upon their inhabitants corpo- 
rate powers and duties like those with which tbe towns of 
New England are clothed, will, it is believed, be found to 
have been an institution originally peculiar to tbe Colonies 
planted there. 

It was probably tbe result, in part, of accident at first; 
but was chiefly due, like so many of tbe measures which the 
founders of these Colonies inaugurated, to the singular wis- 
dom and foresight with which they adapted their policy to 
the condition of the people. Without, at first, setting apart 
a prescribed portion of territory, and clothing it with corpo- 



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Z HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

rate powers, the General Court conferred these upon such 
settlements as from their size, and remoteness from others, 
rendered a corporate organization a matter of safety and con- 
venience. Thus it is said that the only Act of Incorporation 
of Boston, Dorchester, or Watertown, was an order of the 
General Court, " that Trimountain shall be called Boston ; 
Mattapan, Dorchester ; and the town ou Charles Rivor, Water- 
town." 

The Colony, through its government, stood in two relations 
to the settlers upon the hitherto unoccupied lands ; by one 
of which, a title to these lands was granted ; and, by the 
other, the requisite powers were conferred and duties imposed 
upon them as bodies politic. Provision was thus made for 
the support of the gospel, the maintenance of highways, the 
management of their municipal affairs, and, at an early day, 
for the support of free schools. In process of time, grants 
of specific portions of territory were made in anticipation of 
settlements being formed thereon within prescribed periods ; 
and, when formed, corporate powers were conferred upon 
them, generally by very brief Acts, which assumed that these 
powers and duties were understood and defined by the na- 
ture of the organization to which vitality was thereby given. 
This will be illustrated by the Act incorporating the town 
whose history it is now proposed to write. 

But, whatever may have been the origin of these town 
organizations, it may be doubted whether the true New-Eng- 
land character which has distinguished the Northern Colonies, 
in their earher and later histoiy, may not be more directly 
traced to the existence of these than to any other single 
cause. . While, as has been remarked, they were made the 
means of sustaining public religious worslnp and schools, and 
enforcing a salutary domestic police, they became the me- 
dium of accomplishing scarcely less important results in their 
social and political bearing. As little independent demo- 
, they gave to every citizen a part and share in the 



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HISTORY OF LKICESTER. d 

management of their concerns, and rendered him femiliar 
with the forma and details of public busineaa, as well as the 
nature and extent of popular rights and duties ; and, by 
means of the discussions to which the meetings of the peo- 
ple of the several towns at stated intervals gave rise, every 
man learned how to give utterance to his own opinions, and 
to feel the dignity and responsibility of a free man among 
his equals. 

Every man, moreover, felt that he waa a part of one corpo- 
rate whole. Its limits were the bounds of his home. Its 
very scenery became identified with his earliest and holiest 
associations and affections; and the church where his fathers 
had worshipped, and the churchyard where his fathera were 
sleeping, had for him a sanctified interest which no other spot 
could ever awaken. Its history became a part of his own. 
The burdens of taxation were relieved of half their weight 
by the consciousness that they were imposed by his own 
agents, for purposes connected with the honor, prosperity, 
and reputation of his own town ; and, in this way, incidents 
in the domestic history of one of these little communities 
often acquired an interest for its members disproportioned to 
their intrinsic importance, and which it was difficult for a 
stranger to understand. They partook of the character 
which the mind spontaneously associates with the events 
that go to make up the inner life of one's own self and that 
of his family. 

I hardly need to add, that it is with feelings like these that 
I have ventured upon a task of so much labor, — which can 
bring, in return, no reward of fame or money,' — of gather- 
ing up the few and scattered materials which remain of the 
history of this now ancient town of Leicester, for the first 
century of its existence as a body politic. I cannot suffi- 
ciently express the regret I feel that some other hand had 
not undertaken the worli, and that it had not been under- 
taken at a much earHer day. The brief and imperfect sketch 



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4 HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 

of the history of the town, hastily prepared, now more than 
thirty years ago, was even then too late to be what it should 
have heen. It is the more to be regretted, because, within 
the recollection of many now living, intelligent men and 
women were residing here who formed a part of the genera- 
tion that succeeded the first settlement of the town, and 
possessed a rich fund of anecdote and local incident connect- 
ed with its earliest history, which has been buried in their 
graves, and irretrievably lost.* Even of the events of the 
Revolution, in which the town took an early and active part, 
not a living witness remains. 

But, much as we may lament the loss of these sources of 
her early history, I greatly miscalculate, or there will still be 
found, in the materials which have been presei-ved, enough 
to furnish a record of the fathers, which the sons may feel a 
generous pride in recalling. The very nature of the work 
of tracing out and collecting these bespeaks the indulgence 
which is due to him who undertakes it ; and, if the following 
pages do no more, they will bear testimony to the grateful 
memories and associations of one, in whose mind they are 
connected with the spot of his birth, and, for twenty-eight 
years, the home of his affections. 



• Among those I might mention, of the class here referred to, was Mrs. Mary 
Stirgant, the widow of Nsthan, and mothei' of the late John Sargent, sen. She vaa 
born in 1727, — a dHughter of Daniel Denny, ona of the first sattlars in the town,— 
and survived till 1822; a period of ninety-fiye jeara, which want biiclt wiHiin ton years 
of the planting of the town. She was a remarkably bright, intailigant lady. Her 
memory waa stored with interesting local and pai'sonal anecdotes; and her recollec- 
dona, if they had been noted down and traasurad, would have fnrnished a most fruitful 
and interesting source of the history of the town. She retiuned her mental powers 
till a late period in her life; and is sOll remembered aa a most agreeable, cheerful, and 
entertaining lady. I recoUeet a very pleasant journey, in her company, from Leices- 
ter into Vermont and back again, when she was eighty-four years old. Age had 
hardly dulled tlie quickness of her vivsioity, or impaired the vigor of hei' mind or 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTFE. 



CHAPTER I. 



PURCHASE, INOORrORATION, AND SETTI.EMEVf OF THE TOWN. — 
NOTICES OF ITS ORIGINAL PROl'lilETORS, ALLOTMENTS OF ITS 
TERRITORY, &C. 

The first notice we have of tlie place, afterwards called 
Leicester, is in 1686, when the territory was purchased of 
the Indian proprietors by a company of nine persons, most 
of whom belonged to Roxbiiry, Although the jurisdiction 
over and general property in the soil was conferred by their 
charter upon the Company of the Massachusetts Bay, the 
right of soil in the aborigines as occupants thereof was 
recognized by the government of the Colony, and was re- 
garded in moat instances by the colonists in making acqui- 
sitions of parts of the territory. 

The usual course of proceeding in such cases was to obtain, 
from the head men or chiefs of the tribes inhabiting the por- 
tion of the territory which it was desired to acquire, a formal 
deed of release ; for which some satisfactory, though often 
inconsiderable, compensation was paid. Upon application to 
the General Court, the title thus acquired was generally 
confirmed, but upon such conditions as they saw fit to pre- 
scribe. 

Companies of private speculators early engaged in the busi- 
ness of thus buying up Indian titles to lands, which they 
secured to themselves by confirmatory acts of the General 
Court. There was, ordinarily, no difficulty in effecting these 
confirmatory grants, since the leading men in the Colony 
were largely concerned in these speculations. The spirit for 



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HI8T0UY OF LEICESTER. 



such enterprises seems to have pervaded all i 
cially from the first to the middle of the eighteenth century ; 
including, as the history of this town wi!! show, officers the 
highest in authority, as well as ministers of the gospel. It 
would, in fact, be difficult to trace to its origin the rage and 
mania for speculation in lands with which our community is 
periodically Eifflicted. Without attempting it in this case, I 
have only to speak of the mode in which such enterprises 
were managed. 

These companies became a kind of corporation known as a 
Proprietary ; managing their affairs, even to the granting of 
their lands, by votes, of which they preserved records, and 
which, in many instances in Massachusetts, form the only 
evidence of the original titles to lands as acquired from the 
original proprietors. These books of " Proprietors' Records," 
therefore, have become valuable as muniments of title to 
lands ; and, in most instances, have been carefully preserved. 

Among other tracts which were purchased by the same 
company to whom the territory of Leicester was conveyed 
was the township of Hardwick, which, for a while, took the 
name of Lambstown from that of one of the company. 

The township of Leicester lay in the heart of what was 
known as the Nipnet or Nipmuc country, which extended to 
a considerable distance to the south, embracing the ponds 
and streams in and around Oxford, The tribe seems to have 
been scattered over a pretty large territory, extending from 
Connecticut River, easterly, to the tribes along the coast, 
known as the Massachusetts Indians. The settlements of the 
tribe occurred at considerable intervals through this large 
territory; and over these were headmen, or sachems, who 
were nominally subordinate in authority to the principal chief 
or ruler of the tribe.* 



fmn 


iCol. Ch^dlarfoLiau 


t.-Gov. Diimmer, 


■hP.i'f^ 


i« a tribe of Indians 


betwaen Wooil- 


iclriii 


1 about fm-tv, tin; mei 


1 about seven ot 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. / 

The Indian name of the territory purchased hy tlio Rox- 
bury men was Towtaid, over which Oraskaso had been bBt 
chem. He had recently died, leaving two daughters, who, 
with their husbands, claimed title to the soil. Except by a 
rugged path called the New Connecticut Road, by which 
occasional intercourse was kept up between the settlements 
at Marlborough and east of that, and those on Connecticut 
River, this region was an inaccessible wilderness, and, at the 
time of the purchase, had no nearer white settlement than 
Marlborough. The settlements at Quaboog or Brookfield and 
Worcester had been broken up and dispersed by the war 
of King Philip in 1675. Indeed, the situation of the place 
and the circumstances of the country were so unpropitious 
to a settlement of the lands they had purchased, that the 
proprietors took no measures to accomplish this for nearly 
thirty years. 

Their deed bears date Jan. 27, 1686,* and professes to con- 
vey eight miles square of territory for the consideration of 
"fifteen pounds current money of New England." A copy 
of this deed will be found in the Appendix to this work. It 
is executed by Philip Tray, with his wife Momokhue, and 
John Wampscon, and Waiwaynom his wife ; the wives being 
the heirs of the late Sachem Oraskaso. It is also signed by 
Wandwoamag " the deacon," and Jonas his wife, though not 
named in the deed : from which I am inclined to suppose 
that they belonged to the " Praying Indians ; " as there were, 
a few years prior to this, twenty families at Pagachoag, — a 



eight." He su^ct tliit they on'-ht net to b 
woods, and racomm d h t th j li uld b 
oonduoC of an Engb h 

• This, by our p es t 11 w Id h 16ST ; as, until 1752, the yetir was 
assumed to bogin o tl 26th M h L dy D y, in the calendar of the Eomish 
Ohufch. At that tim t began t b re k i f m the lat January, which took the 
nams of New Style to di g h t from th Old ; and it was common to give a 
double Ante for the ei 1 tw tl 1 t T y and asth March. Thus a deed or 

event in Jsumiuy, aft th j 1 w Id b for example, Jan. 26, 1766-6. 



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a HIHTORY OF LEICESTER. 

part of Worcester near to Towtaidj — and there were said to 
be one thousand converted Indians within the limits of the 
Nipmuc country.* 

The description of the granted territory shows the wild 
and unsettled state of the region between Marlborough and 
the Connecticut River at that time. It is said to lie " near 
the new town of the English, called Worcester." It bounds 
southerly by lands which Joseph Dudley, Esq., afterwards 
Gov, Dudley, had lately bought of the Indians ; which con- 
sisted of a gore of land, a part of which helped afterwards to 
form Charlton : a part was known as Oxford North Gore, 
and a part is embraced in the present town of Auburn. The 
western line cannot now be ascertained or identified; and the 
northern one is assiimed to be known by its running " unto a 
great hill called Aspomsok," which is supposed to be the hill 
now called Hasnebumskit in Paxton; "and so on, easterly, 
upon a line, until it comes against Worcester bounds, and 
joins unto their bounds." 

The war in which the colonists were involved with the 
French and Indians, known as King William's War, which 
had begun in 1690, was terminated by the peace of Eyswick 
in 1697. It was, however, followed by that of Queen Anne in 
1702, which continued until the peace of Utrecht in 1713 ; 
and it was not until this time that the propnetors of Leices- 
ter, which they had till then called by the name of Straw- 
berry Hill, began to take measures to avail themselves of the 
benefit of their purchase. 

They caused their deed to be recorded, and applied to the 
Legislature for a confirmation of their title to the tract. 
This was granted upon condition, that, within seven years, 
fifty families settled themselves, in as defensible and regular 
a way as the circumstances of the place would allow, on 
part of said land;" and that a sufficient quantity thereof be 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. U 

reserved for the use of a gospel ministry there and a 
school, &c. 

These were ths usual conditions upon which the grants of 
townships were then made. By the same vote, " the town to 
be named Leicester, and to belong to the county of Middle- 
sex." This vote was passed on the 15th of Febraary, 1713. 
It does not profess to grant corporate powers, or to create 
a body politic for any purposes, except by implication; and 
yet it is the only Act of Incorporation ever granted to the 
town, and under which it has ever since executed fall cor- 
porate powers and duties. The proprietors were limited in 
this legislative grant to a quantity not exceeding eight miles 
square of land.* 

The persons named as grantees in the original Indian deed 
were Joshua Lamb, Nathaniel Page, Andrew Gardner, Benja- 
min Gamblin, Benjamin Tucker, John Curtice, Eichard Draper, 
Samuel Ruggles, and Ealf Eradhurst. The grant of the 
General Court recites the former grant from the " heirs of 
Ouraskoe, the original sachem of a place called Towtaid;" 
and then goes on to confirm the title as above stated. 

These proprietors had, probably, already associated others 
with them in the enterprise of settling the town and sharing 
in the speculation; for we find them executing a deed on 
the 23d of the same February, which was acknowledged 
before Penn Townsend, Esq., to thirteen other associates; 
dividing the same into twenty equal and undivided shares, 
of which two wero equally divided, each between two, so 
as to make twenty-two proprietors of the twenty shares. 
The names of the persons who thus became interested with 
the original purchasers were Jeremiah Dummer, Paul Dudley, 
John Clark, Addington Davenport, Thomas Hutchinson, John 
White, William Hutchinson, Francis Wainwright, John Chan- 

• In June, 1714, a survey of the town was made by John Chnndlar, by order of the 
General Court, in order to fix its bounds; and it is said hy Whitney, that these were 
BslahlishBd by a special Act of the General Court in January, 1714, 



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10 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

dler and Thomas Howe as one, Daniel Allen and Samuel 
Sewall as one, and William Dudley. 

Every one of these were men of influence in the Province ; 
and, although none of the twenty-two proprietors ever became 
inhabitants of tiiat portion of the town which retained the 
original name, it seems proper to give them a passing notice, 
from their early connection with its history. Many of them 
belonged to Eosbury, and others of their number were 
connected with these by family ties. 

Joshua Lamb, distinguished as " colonel," was a magistrate 
of influence and respectability. He belonged to Roxbnry, 
was extensively engaged in the land-negotiations of the day, 
and was a man of large wealth. It was from him, as already 
stated, that Hardwick took its first name of Lambstown. 

Samuel Ruggles also belonged to Eoxbury. He was 
grandfather of the well-known " brigadier," Timothy Eugglea, 
whose loyalty to the crown made him an exile from his native 
Province ; in which, while he remained, he had no superior. 

Behjamih Gamblik, Benjamin Tucker, and Ealph Bead- 
hurst, belonged to Eoxbury. 

John Curtice, an original proprietor, had died, and was 
represented by Jonathan his son, who also belonged to 
Eoxbury. 

EiCHARD DRArER was a Boston merchant, and a deacon in 
one of its churches. 

Andrew Gardner, of Eoxbury, died about 1701, and was 
represented by his son Thomas, who died in Needham in 1757. 

Nathaniel Page, in 1691, was a resident of Bedford, Ho 
was the ancestor of the lamilies of that name in Hardwick, 
and, among thera, of the Eev. Lucius E. Page of Cambridge. 

Jeremiah Dummbb was a man of more consequence in 
the Province than any of the proprietors yet noticed. He 
belonged to Boston ; was graduated at Harvard College in 
1699, and afterwards received the degree of Doctor of Phi- 
losophy at the University of Utrecht. While in England, he 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 11 

shared the confidence and friendship of Bolingbroke. He 
resided there eleven years — ^from 1710 to 1721 — as Agent 
of the Province ; which was one of the most honorable and 
responsible trusts in the gift of the General Court. Among 
his publications as an author was a " Defence of the New-Eag- 
land Charters ; " a work of much ability. He died in England, 
at Plaistow, in 1739 ; leaving the reputation of a sound scholar. 

Paul Dudley was Attorney-General of the Province at 
the time of his becoming a proprietor of Leicester. He was 
a son of Gov. Joseph Dudley, and was bom in Ecxbury. He 
was graduated at Harvard in 1690, and studied law at the 
Temple in London. In 1718, he was appointed to the bench 
of the Superior Court, and became Chief -Justice of that court 
in 1745. This office he held till his death, in 1751, at the age 
of seventy-eight. In addition to his acquirements as a lawyer 
and his services as an able judge, ho published works upon 
theology and natural science, and was elected a member of 
the Royal Society in London ; an honor conferred upon a few 
only of the residents of the Province. 

John Claek belonged to Boston. He was born in 1668, and 
was graduated at Harvard in 1687. He became a leading 
politician in his day, and belonged to what was known as 
the " popular party," at the head of which were the Cookes, 
father and son, who were opposed to Gov. Simte. Wlien, 
therefore, he was chosen to the Council in 1720, he was 
negatived by the Governor ; but when he was chosen, the 
following year, Speaker of the House, the Governor was in- 
duced by prudential considerations to consent to the election, 
although strongly inclined to negative it. He afterwards was 
chosen to the Council, and admitted to his seat ; and was a 
member of that body at the time of his death, Dec. 5, 1728. 
He was at that time sixty-one years of age. He is spoken of 
by Hutchinson as " a person of many valuable qualities." 

Addington Davenport was connected by marriage with 
Paul and William Dudley and Francis Wainwright, aU of 



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12 HISTOKY OF LEICESTER. 

them proprietors of the town ; and, about the time of bia be- 
coming a proprietor, was associated with Thomas Hutchinson 
and John "White, two others of the proprietors, as trustees 
of the Province loan of fifty thousand pounds, in bills, issued 
and let out at five per cent, upon mortgages of real estate, to 
the people of the Province, as a substitute for a bank, for 
which many were then striving. Judge Davenport was 
graduated at Harvard in 1689; and, in 1695, was appointed 
Clerk of the Superior Court. In 1714, he was elected to the 
Council ; and, in the following year, appointed to the bench 
of the Superior Court; which office he held until his death, 
at the age of sixty-six, in 1736. His wife was the daughter 
of Col. John Wainwright of Ipswich, an influential citizen in 
the Province, whose brother Francis married the sister of 
Paul Dudley. His own daughter married William Dudley, 
above mentioned. 

Thomas Hutchinson was the father of Gov. Hutchinson, 
and belonged to Boston. He was a merchant, and possessed 
a leading influence in the political affairs of the Province. He 
was a member "of the Council from 1714 to 1739, with the 
exception of two years. He died in the office, in 1739, at 
the age of sixty-fl.ve. 

John Whitb wm, for many years, Clerk of the House of 
Representatives ; and, as has been stated, was one of the 
trustees of the Province loan in 1714. He died of small-pox, 
taken by inoculation, in December, 1721 ; * leaving the repu- 

* It should be recollected that inoculation for the amall-pos was introduced into 
America in 1721. Notwithstimding the frightful ravages of this disease, — which corriBd 
off 884 out of 6,769 who were attflcked with it in the natural way, in Boston alone, m 
1721, — the proposition to apply inoculation, which was made by Cottfln Mather from 
accounts which he had read in the Transactions of tha Koyal Society, was so violently 
opposed, that no physician but Dt. Zabdiel Boyleton dared to adopt it, nnd ha only in 
a secret manner. Mather's honsa was flssanlted, and he mobbed, for his agBnoy in pro- 
moting it. In the year 1721, 217 were secretly inoculated ; of whom six only died, ona 
of wiiom was Mr. White. So slowly, liowever, did it gain favor, that in 1730, wliile in 
Boston 8,B00 had the disease m the natural way, of whom 488 died, 400 only were inocu- 
lated, and of these only 13 died.— i/naa. Hist &JC. Cbtt,vol.iii.p.a93; Mhaes-s Anvatt, 
vol. 1. p. 536. 



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HISTORY OF LEICKSTER. 13 

tation, in the words of Hutchinaon, of " a gentleman of un- 
spotted chai'acter." 

William Hutchinson belonged to Boston ; which town he 
represented in the General Court in 1721, He is spoken 
of by the historian as " a gentleman of very fair character ; 
sensible, virtuous, discreet, and of an independent fortune." 
He died young. He belonged to the popular party in politics. 

Feancib Wainwright belonged to Boston, and was the son 
of an influential man, — John "Wainwright of Ipswich, He 
was a merchant, and married the daughter of Gov, Joseph and 
sister of Paul and William Dudley. His sister married Judge 
Davenport, as has been stated. He died in 1722. 

John Chandj-Ee was bom in Woodstock, then embraced in 
Massachusetts ; his father having emigTated to that place 
from Roxbury in 1686. When the county of Worcester was 
organized in 1731, he was appointed Judge of Probate, and 
Chief-Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, for that county. 
Besides these offices, he held that of colonel of a regiment 
of militia, and was a member of the Council. He may be 
considered as the founder of the family of that name in the 
county; which for many years shared largely in the favor 
of the Eoyal Government, and held numerous offices of honor 
and trust, up to the time of the Revolution. Judge Chandler 
died in 1743. 

Thomas Howe belonged to Marlborough ; was a colonel of 
the militia ; a leading and influential citizen ; and was the son 
of the first white settler in that town. 

Daniel Allen, of whom little is known, is said to have 
been a merchant of Boston. 

Samuel Sew all belonged to Brookline. He was a son of 
Chief-Justice Sewall, and married a daughter of Gov, Dudley, 
and thereby became connected with Wainwright and the two 
Dudleys above named. He died at the age of seventy-two. 

William Dudley, the last named in the deed before men- 
tioned, was the youngest son of Gov. Dudley, and was gradu- 



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14 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

ated at Harvard in 1705. He resided in Koxbury. He held 
many important offices in the Province ; was a member of 
the Council, a Colonel of the Suffolk Regiment, a Judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas, and, for several years, Speaker of 
the House of Representatives. As a military officer, he took 
part in the espedition against Port Royal in Nova Scotia, in 
1710, which resulted in an easy conquest of the place. His 
wife was a daughter of Judge Davenport. 

If it were proper, at this distance of time, to indulge in 
any conjectures in relation to the aifairs of the proprietors, 
one would be led to remark upon the character and position 
of the men with whom the original purchasers shared the 
territoiy they had acquired. They embraced some of the most 
prominent and leading men of both political parties, some of 
them connected with the immediate government of the Pro- 
vince, and quite a proportion of them united by strong family 
ties ; and if it could be supposed that by lapse of time, or 
defect in the original deed, or any other cause, it had become 
necessary to exert a combined influence over the government 
in order to obtain a confirmation of the title, it is pretty 
obvious that these were precisely tiie class of men through 
whose aid such a measure might be hoped to be accom- 
plished. 

Col. Pens TowNSENn also, who certified the acknowledg- 
ment of the deed, was a leading man in the Province. He 
was connected by marriage with Judge Davenport ; had been 
Speaker of the House of Representatives ; Chief Justice of the 
Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk ; and had held other 
important offices. 

But as we are bound to presume, in the absence of any 
positive proof to the conti'ary, that, in the " good old times " 
in which these events took place, every thing was properly 
done, we have only to follow out the action of these proprietors 
till the town was fully organized as a municipal corporation. 
The records of their proceedings, unfortunately, are s 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 15 

mutilated; thougli enough remains to indicate the general 
course of their measures. 

It will be recollectedj that one condition upon which the 
grant of the Legislature was made was the setlJement of 
fifty families within the township within seven years ; and 
this the proprietors undertook at once to accomplish. The 
method they proposed was by holding out an indncement 
to a proper number of families to come and occupy their 
lands, by setting apart the easterly half of the township, and 
disposing of the same to actual settlers upon favorable terms, 
and thereby to save to themselves an absolute property in 
the other half 

A meeting was accordingly held in Boston on the same 
day with the date of tlieir deed, at which John Chandler was 
chosen clerk. A vote was passed to dispose of one-half of the 
town to settlers, and to divide the remainder into twenty lots, 
of a thousand acres or less each, as a Committee appointed 
for the pui'pose " should judge best and most convenient, when 
on the spot." — "Col. Dudley, Capt. Lamb, Capt. Chandler, 
Capt. Howe, and Capt. Euggles," were made the Committee 
to determine which half should he assigned to the settlers, 
and which retained for the proprietors, and to grant " lots, 
after-divisions, and rights, in that half to be settled." 

On the 14tlx of May following this meeting, an allotment, in 
part, of the settlers' or eastern half, was made, but upon 
condition that the lots should be settled by May, 1717, or be 
forfeited. At the expiration of this time, however, several 
to whom allotments had been made had failed to perform 
the condition ; and another term of one year was extended 
to them, upon their giving bonds conditioned to comply with 
the requirements. The vote of the Committee who had this 
matter in charge indicated a commendable spirit of liberality. 
Whatever sums might be forfeited were, thereby, to be em- 
ployed for the purposes of a meeting-house, highways, bridges, 
and similar public uses. 



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16 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

One thing is observable in the making of these early allot- 
ments ; and that is, the great value and importance which 
were attached to what were called " meadows." By these 
they understood the low and swampy tracts which were 
destitute of a forest growth, and in which natural grasses 
were found growing. 

Most of these have, of late years, been esteemed of little 
value ; partly, it may be, from having lost their original 
sources of fertility, and partly from a want of proper care 
and culture. But, as a means of supplying sustenance to 
the farming stock of the first settlers until they could till 
their uplands, these meadows were, indeed, invaluable. Pro- 
vision was accordingly made, in respect to the western half, 
for dividing all the meadows of twenty acres or more among 
the proprietors in equal proportion ; and it will be perceived 
hereafter that a similar policy was adopted in respect to the 
settlers' part of the town. 

The " cedar-swamps," on the contrary, were at first suf- 
fered to lie in common for the personal use and accommoda- 
tion of the owners of the other lands. There were two 
principal cedar-swamps in the settlers' half, — one of these 
in the north-west and the other in the south-west part of the 
town, — the latter of which was never partitioned, like the 
other iands in the town. 

There were several meadows which were early distin- 
guished by names ; moat of which can be still identified, 
though some of them have ceased to be improved as such. 
Among these were Town Meadow, about half a mile west of 
the meeting-house ; now flowed for the purpose of carrying 
the works in the brick factory of Mr. Sargent. Another was 
Pond Meadow, lying south-west of Henshaw Pond, so called, 
through which the waters from that pond flow, and extending 
to the road leading to Auburn. 

For the remainder of these, as well as for the localities of 
the allotments and many other points of geographical interest 



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IIISTOEY OF LEICESTJ'Jt. 



17 



ill the description of the town, I must refer the reader to the 
Map annexed to this work ; for which he is indebted to the 
patient research, extended labor, and fondness for antiqua- 
rian lore, of Joseph A. Denny, Esq., for whose frequent aid in 
the prosecution of this work I am happy to acknowledge my 
indebtedness. 

The allotment begun in May, 1714, to the settlers, was carried 
out by setting out to them fifty parcels, — some in quantities 
of thirty acres, some of forty, and some of fifty, — and appro- 
priating a lot of a hundred acres for schools ; reserving one 
forty-acre lot of the fifty for the ministry, and assigning three 
additional lots upon condition that mills should be erected 
thereon. These were considered as the original " house-lots ; " 
and the proprietors of each were to receive, as " after-rights," 
a hundred acres in some other part of the town for every ten 
inchided in their respective house-lots. It was not, however, 
until the 23d July, 1722, that the conditions upon which these 
allotments had been made were suiBciently complied with to 
call for any action on the part of the original proprietors of the 
town, who as yet had made no formal deed of conveyance to 
the settlers of their lands. At that time, a meeting of these 
proprietors was held at the Green-Dragon Tavern in Boston. 

To one who remembers the character of those famous meet- 
ings at that house, so well known in the history of the thnes, 
just before and during the Revolution, there may seem to have 
been something of unconscious appropriateness in the place in 
which this meeting was held, when he recalls, as this history 
will show, the early and pei-sistent devotion of its people to 
the principles and cause of the American Revolution. 

On that occasion, " it was voted that Col. William Dud- 
ley, Lieut.-Col. Joshua Lamb, Nathaniel Kanny, Samuel Green, 
and Samuel Tyley,* be a Committee and fully authorized and 

8 m 1 T 1 lib ■ of a pHrt of the slmre formerly belonj-iiis to 

R h i D I H w t y P blic, Bull Imd his offiua in King Scroat, Boston. 



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18 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

empowered to execute a good and sufficient deed or convey- 
ance in the law, by order and in tlie name of the proprietors 
of Leicester, for the one-half of that township in the eastern 
half, to the first grantors and settlers thereon that performed 
the condition of their grant, or such persons as shall derive 
and make out title thereto from them to the satisfaction of 
said Committee, to them, their heirs and assigns, for ever." 
The Committee were directed to except out of their grant 
a forty-acre lot in contest between John Minzies and Samuel 
Prince. 

The condition upon which the lots had been granted was, 
that one shilling per acre for each house-lot should be paid, 
and a family settled thereon within a prescribed time, or the 
same should revert to the grantors. 

This vote was not, however, carried into effect until the 
11th January, 1724, when a deed was execiited of the several 
lots, designated by numbers, to thirty-seven different persons, 
some of whom, by procuring other families to settle upon 
their allotments, had acquired a right to more than a single 
lot each. A copy of this deed will be found in the Appen- 
dix.;* and while it contains the names of persons who never 
removed to the town, and of others who, though once resident 
here, have long disappeared from its records, tliere will he 
found upon it the ancestors of many of the families which 
have constituted an important part of the prominent inhabi- 
tants of the town. Among them will readily occur the 
Dennys, the Greens, the Earles, the Henshaws, the Sargents, 
the Livermores, and the Southgates. 

By the execution of this deed, the connection between the 
easterly and westerly portions of the town was, in a good mea- 
sure, practically dissolved, although they continued to form 
one municipal corporation till 1753. At that time the westerly 
part was set off into a district, having most of the powers of 

• Tlie localkiua of the Hllodneiits may bo traeod upon tha (unjexcd Miip. 



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HIBTOKY OF LEICESTER. 19 

a town except that of choosing a represeutative to the Gene- 
ral CoTii"t, under the name of Spencer. It had been erected 
into a parish in 1744; and, at ihe breaking-out of the Revo- 
lution, the only distinction which remained between its chame- 
ter aa a district and as a town was removed by the right it 
thereupon acquired of being represented in the Legislature. 
For this reason, and becaiise the history of Spencer has already 
been so fully and faithfully given to the public by the Hon. 
James Draper of that town,* I shall confine what I shall have 
to say, chiefly, to that part of the original town which retained 
its original corporate name of Leicester. 



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l-ITSTORY OF LEICKSTEK.. 



CIIAPTEE II. 



BOUNDARIES AND TOPOORAl'HICAL FEATURES OF THE TOWN, ~ 
STATISTICS OF ITS BUSISESS, POPULATION, &c, - HIGHWAYS. — 
STAGKS. — TRADERS AND MANUFACTURERS. — SLAVERY. 

The latitude and longitude of tho town are 42° 14' 49" 
north, and 71° 54' 47" west. Its distance from Boston ia 
forty-three miles, geographically measured : by the travelled 
roads, it somewhat exceeds that adme^urement. From a sur- 
vey of the town in 1855, its north line, bounding on Paxton, 
runs north 87°, west 1,237 rods ; its west line, bounding upon 
Spencer, south ^°, east 2,064 rods; its south line, bounding 
upon Charlton, runs south 87°, east 370 rods, — then on Ox- 
ford, in the same course, 360 rods ; its south-east line, bound- 
ing upon Auburn, runs north 40^°, east 583 rods, north 43°, 
east 288 rods, and east 156J rods ; its east line, bounding 
on Worcester, runs north 12°, west 1,338^ rods. It contains 
13,453 acres. 

This is what remains of the settlers' half of the original 
town, after having had two miles in width taken from its 
north side to help to form the town of Paxton in 1765, and 
about 2,500 acres from its south-east part in 1778 to help 
to form the town of Ward, now Auburn. 

The town is situate upon the height of land between Con- 
necticut River and the ocean, about a thousand feet above 
tide-water, sloping towards the south; so tliat the streams 
of water which flow from it find their way to the ocean by 
three principal channels,- — one, towards the west, through 
Chicopee and Connecticut Eivers ; one, towards the south, 



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HISTORY OK LEICESTER, 21 

through French and Quiuebaug Eivers ; and one, towards the 
south-east, through Blaclistone River, And so near are 
the sources of some of the branches of these streams in the 
town, that, at a point in the westerly part of it, the Great 
Road to Spencer separates the waters that flow into the Chi- 
copee from those which flow into the Quinebaug ; and at 
the foot of the Meeting-Iiouse Hill, east of the principal vil- 
lage, the waters upon the south side of the Great Road flow 
into the Quinebaug, while those upon its north side find 
their way into the Blackstone. 

Though the face of the territory is generally uneven, and 
in parts hilly, it does not rise into any considerable peaks, 
nor are any of its hills rugged or abrupt. Some of these 
have received names, which, in some instances, they have 
borne from the first settlement of the town. Among them, I 
may mention that upon which the principal village ia built. 
It was for many years, as one of the early deeds of the 
estates shows, called Strawberry Hill. It was here the first 
settlement was begun; and a house standing where that of 
Mr. May now stands was one of the first, and probably the 
first, erected in town, and was built upon the lot numbered 
" one " in the deed above referred to. 

In the easterly part of the town, a little north-west from 
the village of Cherry Valley, is another eminence, called 
Bald Hill in the earliest records of the town, from the cir- 
cumstance that it had been cleai-ed and cultivated before 
the white men settled here. 

The elevation east of this, adjoining the town of Worcester, 
was known as Chestnut Hill, and was first settled by Nathan 



Mount Pleasant lies about a mile west of the Meeting-house. 
There is an engraving, in one of the numbers of the " Massa^ 
chusetta Magazine " published in 1794, representing what is 
called " Mount Pleasant in Leicester, the property of the late 
Thomas Sfcickney, as seen from the Academy." Thia estate 



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22 niaxoRY of leicestkr. 

was once a princely one, and wan owned and occupied a wliile 
by the late Major Swan, formerly of Boston, who died a few 
years since in France. It had gone sadly to decay, however, 
when taken possession of by its late thrifty proprietor, Mr. 
Oliver Smith. 

About three-quarters of a mile north of the Meeting-house 
is a considerable elevation, which has from an early date been 
called Carey Hill. Tradition has fixed it as the spot upon 
which the first settlers of the town found a hermit dwelling 
in a cave ; but we are left to conjecture alone, as to who 
it was that had sought to escape from the troubles of life 
by burrowing in the earth here, amidst the primeval forest 
which then covered this region. The hill undoubtedly took 
its name from Arthur Carey, who was the first to settle upon 
it. It formed a part of lot No. 5, which bounded upon the 
north by lot 6, the one reserved for the ministry. 

Moose Hill is one of the highest in the town, and lies at its 
north-west comer. For the remainder of these, I must again 
refer to the annexed Map. 

From several of these elevations, wide and beautiful pano- 
ramic views of the surrounding country may be obtained. 
That from the mansion-house formerly standing upon the 
Denny Farm, so many years in that family,* formed the sub- 
ject of a landscape by Ealph Earle, a distinguished native 
artist of the town, who is elsewhere noticed in this work ; 
which was a production of much merit. It is still in possession 
of the family of the former proprietor of the estate, and, in 
its details as well as its outlines, is suggestive of the changes 
which the actual landscape has witnessed in the multiplied 
villages which have sprung up since the day of the artist's 
sketch of what then met the eye of an observer. 

In respect to ponds and streams of water, the elevated 
situation of the town prevents either from being of any great 

* Tliis hill wftB formerly known as Nui'se'e, afterwards as Eaccoon Hill. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 23 

magnitude, since it is chiefly the bead-waters of the strcama 
flowing from the town that are found here. Two of these 
natural ponds, only, have been distinguished by name, and 
these have been changed from time to time. 

That collection of water, containing about forty-three acres, 
lying about a mile south-east from the Meeting-house, was 
formerly called the Judge's Pond, from being upon the farm 
of Judge Menzies, one of the early settlers of the town. It 
has been known as Henshaw Pond since the adjacent farm has 
been owned by the family of that name. 

The other lies in the north-west part of the town, and was 
at one time known as North Pond ; but afterwards took tba.t 
of Shaw, from the owner of land upon its borders. 

Several artificial ponds, of considerable magnitude, have 
been created for purposes of reservoirs for the operation of 
mills. One of these, called Bumtcoat, contains over a hun- 
dred acres. Another, just below it, occupies the gi'ound 
formerly one of the large cedar meadows of the town. The 
Town Meadow has been flowed for many years past ; and a 
succession of reservoirs upon Kettle Brook, so called, has 
created a supply of water for that stream, sufficient to carry 
several important manufacturing establishments in the town. 

The last-named brook takes its rise in Paxton, and, flowing 
through the easterly part of the town, discharges itself into 
Blacketone Eiver, in Worcester. 

The chapges which have been made in this stream by these 
artificial reservoirs, and their effect upon the business and 
prosperity of the town, are some of the many illustrations, 
which are found all over New England, of what may be done 
for the country by a proper encouragement of her industrial 
interests. Within my own recollection, the only works upon 
Kettle Brook, within the town, were a little cheap sawmill, 
standing where the woollen mill of Mr. Hodges stands ; a small 
gristmill belonging to the late Mr, John Sargent, where the 
woollen mill late of Mr. Capron stands ; and a small clothier's 



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24 HISTORY OV LKtCESTER. 

shop, where Mr. Watson's woollen mill, which was burned, 
stood : and so small was the quantity of water flowing in it, 
that it was nearly dry most of the summer months. Since that, 
five woollen factories, three of them of a large size, besides 
several smaller mills, have been erected upon it, having an 
adequate supply of water, and giving employment to a large 
number of operatives, and, under proper encouragement, earn- 
ing wealth for their owners, and contributing generally to the 
growth and prosperity and the enhanced value of property 
of the town. 

This may be no place in which to discuss political eco- 
nomy ; but the wisdom of that policy which protects home 
industry needs no better illustration than what is furnished 
in the history of the rise, progress, and results of manu- 
factures in this town. The first attempt to introduce the 
manufacture of woollen cloth was made by Mr. Samuel Wat^ 
son, at a little factory he erected upon the site of his clo- 
thier's works, on Kettle Brook, in 1814. The manufacture 
of cards had been carried on by hand for many years previous 
to that time : but the town had been chiefly an agricultural 
one ; and its streams of water, in a great measure, had 
run to waste, though capable, as has been shown, of doing 
the labor of a hundred men. The effect of the changes 
which were from time to time introduced, by this means, into 
the industry of the town, will appear when we come to con- 
sider more minutely the history of these changes, and the 
progress of the statistics of its business. 

To recur to the principal streams flowmg from the town. 
The waters of Shaw Pond form one of the sources of the 
Chicopee. Those from Bumtcoat and Henshaw Ponds unite, 
and form the source of French Eiver, flowing through Ox- 
ford into the Quinebaug. The waters from the Town Mea- 
dow take the same direction, and unite with those from the 
Burntcoat above Greenville, in the southerly part of the 
town. The capacity of these streams, and the amount of 



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UrSTORT OF LEICESTiai. 25 

business done upon them, will be spciben of in another con- 
nection. 

As has ah-eady been observed, the early settlers of this 
town were farmers. The soil, though yielding good crops 
under proper cultivation and care, must have been rugged, 
and diiBcuIt to till ; and does not seem to have been very 
attractive to new emigrants. It was thirty-eight years after 
the purchase from the Indians, and eleven after the erection 
of the territory into a township, before the requisite num- 
ber of fifty families had been settled within the easterly half 
of the town. 

The subsequent growth of the town was for many years 
slow. Indeed, such continued to be the case until the intro- 
duction of other employments than the cultivation of the soil. 

A census was taken between the years 1763 and 1765 ; at 
which time, the town, which then included a part of Paxton 
and a part of Auburn, contained but 119 houses and 146 fami- 
lies, forming a total population of 763 souls. This was an 
increase of less than a hundred families in the space of forty 
years, and that within the first half-century of its settlement. 

In 1776, the number of inhabitants had increased to 1,078 ; 
but — probably in consequence of tlie drain of the war, in 
part — there was no increase in numbers between that time 
and 1784, In 1786,* there had been a decrease of white 
inhabitants, though the blacks had increased from seven, in 
1765, to twenty-four. The census of 1790 showed a total of 
1,076, — two less than in 1776 : and the successive censuses 
of 1800, when there were 1,103; 1810, when 1,181 ; and 1820, 
when 1,252, — indicated but a slow growth. The whole in- 
crease from 1776 to 1820 was only 174 in forty-four years, or 
a trifle over sixteen per cent ; while that of the State as a 
whole, including Maine, was over ninety-nine per cent. Prom 



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26 HISTORY OF LEICILSTER. 

this time there was a much more satisfactory increase both 
of population and wealth. In 1830, the former had grown to 
1,782 : and, in 1850, the United-States Census showed a total 
of 2,269 ; viz., 1,169 white males, 1,099 white females, and 
only one colored person, — -a female. The population of the 
town, by the State Census of 1855, was 2,589.* 

The reports of the valuation of the property of the town, 
at different periods, is equally indicative of the causes of its 
wealth and prosperity ; although, probably, some allowance 
is to be made for the difference in the standard of value of 
certain classes of property within the period referred to. 
In 1790, the valuation of the town was, in round numbers, 
$140,000; in 1800, |182,000; in 1810, $229,900; in 1830, 
$461,000; in 1840, $687,952; and in 1850, $1,219,330: show- 
ing an increase for twenty years — between 1790 and 1810 — 
of a little less than sixty-four per cent; while for twenty 
years — from 1810 to 1830 — the increase was more than 
a hundred per cent; and, from 1830 to 1855, more than 
two hundred and fifty per cent. 

The relative growth and consideration of the town may 
be measured by comparing it with other towns in the county 
at different periods within the time which we have been 
considering. 

In 1800 it stood, in the matter of population, the twenty- 
fifth town in the county, in 1810 the twenty-fifth, in 1820 
the thirtieth, in 1830 the fifteenth, in 1850 the seventeenth, 
and in 1855 the flfteenth.t 



■* The increiwe of population for forty-four yesvs befOTB isao nverased, within n 
fraction, four a year. For tliirtj-fivB years l>efore 1S65, it was a, fraction over thirty 
eiglit a year, npon an average. 

t To Hpply tlie teat of valnation at an esu'Iier period : the town stood, in lfT2, the 
twentieth in the conntyj in 1778, tlie thirty-third; so heavy had been the drain upon 
her resources d 'n the w In 178 he had risen to the twenty-second place, in 
1786 to the ni etee I ad 1 03 to tl e eighteenth, in polis and valuation. In ISOl 

18*0 she had nc-ea.edto he ntl anl in IKBO to the savanth, place in tiie scale of 
valuation of the towns it the coun j 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



It was, as will appear, during the latter portion of the time 
covered by tliese statistics, that the manufacture of woollen 
cloths by water-power took its rise in the town. But, before 
entering upon that part of our subject, it may be pleasant to 
test, with such means as I have before me, the social con- 
dition of the people of the town at an earlier period of its 
history, compared with the present. 

One means of doing this ia by referring to a tax which was 
laid upon carriages in the years 1753 to 1757, inclasive, to 
promote the success of manufactures, especially of linen. In 
the first of these years, there were four " chairs " in town to 
be taxed ; but before the next year these had disappeared, 
and, from that year until after 1757, there was no carriage of 
any description in town. Indeed, the use of carriages is 
practically a modem matter. There are persons alive who 
saw the first buggy-wagon that was owned in town, and pil- 
lions had not disappeared till some now upon the stage had 
grown into manhood.* 

Something may be judged of the style in which the people 
of the town lived by recurring to the inventories of estates, 
as found in the Probate Office, at any given period. To two 
or three of these I refer for that purpose. 

Dr. Lawton, a physician of respectable business and repu- 
tation in his profession, died here in 1761. His estate was 
appraised at ^317. 8s. 6d. His books were appraised at 
£1. 4s. 6d., besides his law-books, which had probably come 
to him from his father, an attomey-at-law, and were appraised 



■B it Wi tiiive been the first 
out 1810. There lind been 
a few ohniaes in ase in town Ht an earlier day. I linve often lieurd n liuly, now 
deceased, describe a journsy which she made to Vermont from Laicoster with lier 
husband, on horaebftok. She rode and guided her horse, und oarpiad a ohiid two yanrs 
old In har lap, who was bora in ITS8. It was the only mode of travelling then to be 
had in the oountty. It was one step in the progress of luxury when it beoame a 
matter of hrtat Ion for a yoirng f-entlemnu to fnrnlsh a separate horse, inataad of 
a pillion, for the use of the lady whom he should iiivUe to be his partner to a. bail or 



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28 insTOttY or Leicester. 

at 5s. Sd. His silver plate was valued at ^4. 15s. 4d. ; and 
two looking-glasses, all he had, were valued at 12s. While 
he had an hour-glass and a pillion, he had neither watch, 
clock, nor carpet of any liind. 

Israel Parsons died in 11G1. He was the son of the Rev. 
Mr. Parsons, and a grantee of all his father's estate, real or 
personal. He was once a large landholder ; and, at his death, 
his farm was appraised at ^6240. He left two looking-glasses 
among his household goods, — one valued at 32s., the other 
at 10s. 8d.; but he left neither watch, clock, nor carpet. 

Dr. Lamed, a young physician of considerable promise, died 
here in 1783 ; and his " physical authors," as they are called 
in his inventory, were appraised at IGs. 3d.* 

Indeed, as may be remarked hereafter, the general use of 
carpets is of a modern date ; while, in the matter of books, the 
change has been greater than in almost any other thing. I 
am authorized by a friend f to add, that the first carpets 
woven in Leicester were the handiwork of Mrs. David Briant, 
at the commencement of the present century.^ 



* I might iidd to the nbcva tlio inrBntoiy of Sleivnrt Soiitlij;n,te, who lUofl in Wes, 
and was a man of property, argnged largely aa n surveyor nnd in public business. 
It contains no nrticle of glass, china, or earthonwnro ; n Bingle silver spoon, milned at 
lis.; three looking-glasses, va]nedaltogetherat7s,8(l.; aclock; bntnocnrpet. He had 
one Bailey's Dictionary, one Bible, and thirty-eiglit small pamphlets, for a library. 

The inventory of Rev. Mr. Goddard shows the gratifying fact, that he left hooka 
valued at j£32. 6s. lid. in 176i, while all his other "in-door mov«bles" were only 
^60. 3s. 3d. 

t H. G. Henshaw, Esq. 

X I know not hovp I can batter illnstrate the style of social life among what were 
regarded as comfortable, well-to-do farmers, in 1780, than by transcribing a memoran- 
dum, left by the father of a respectable tiimily of that day, of what he fnniished to a 
danghlar on her marriage, with which to begin " to keep house ! " "One cow; one low 
case of drawers; twelve chaii's, one great one; one square table, and tea do.; one bed, 
bedstead, and cordj one coverlid; thirty yards of sheeting; one bed-quilt; twenty-four 
yards bed-ticking j one large kettle, and diah kettle, and tea do.; one set of tea-dishes ; 
ona teapot; tiiree pewter platters; six pewl«r plates; one quart pot; one cose knives 
and forks; six earthen phites; two quart basins; two pint do.; two porringers; one 
pot, spider, and skillet; two tabs; one chnrn; two pails; sis wooden platters; one 
candlestick; one slice and tongs; one set flat-irans; 
one sieve; one bread trough; one pillion." 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. ^9 

If we inquire into the state of the mechanic arts, and the 
arts as applied to manufactures, in various stages of the liis- 
tory of the town, we shall find that it was a long time before 
any beyond the most common and indispensable mechanics 
were to be found here. 

Moses Stockbridge, for instance, was a carpenter, and was 
residing here in 1717 ; John Potter and Nathaniel Potter, car- 
penters, in 1722; Abiathar Vinton was a blacksmith here in 
1723 ; Joshua Nichols was a tailor here as early as 1721 ; and 
Thomas Hopkins was a mason in 1724. Millwrights were 
employed here about the same time ; and there were doubt- 
less other mechanics, and in other departments, than those I 
have enumerated. 

The first settlers were farmers ; and, like others of that 
class generally in New England, the clothing of their families 
was principally of domestic manufacture. Probably no house 
was destitute of a spinning-wheel or a loom, and few families 
that did not understand more or less of the art of dyeing the 
fobrics which they wove. Cotton was unknown till a com- 
paratively recent date ; and few could indulge in the luxury 
of " India cotton " cloths, for which they must pay some four 
or five shillings the yard, though* they would not now sell 
for as many cents, if they would sell at all. They could clip 
from their own flocks the wool they consumed, and could 
raise the flax, which they understood how to work into linen 
of the purest white. It was from home-made fabrics wrought 
from these that the diligent housewife prepared the wardrobe 
of the family. 

One of the early improvements upon this state of things 
was tho substitution of carding the wool by machinery 
driven by water-power, for the former mode of doing it by 
hand; and a more fastidious taste in the coloring and finiah- 



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30 HISTORY or LEICJWTKIt. 

ing cloths led to the estiibiishment of clothiers among the 
handicrafts of the town. But the progress of improvement 
in machinery, and the introduction of manufactures by means 
of this, long since expelled these household institutions of a 
former day, tiU a loom and a spinning-wheel have become tlie 
curious relics of rustic antiquity.* 

As has already been stated, Mr. Samuel Watson had a 
clothier's shop, in which he carried on business, in what is 
now called Cherry Valley, previous to 1814. At this time 
be enlarged his works, and began the manufacture of woollen 
cloth. His weaving was done by hand ; and the employment 
of men in what had been before regarded as within the pecu- 
liar province of females, in the arrangement of household 
affairs, was looked upon, by those who were not fiimiliar with 
the processes of manufacture elsewhere, in something the 
same light in which people would now regard a man mantuar 
maker or milliner shaping and fitting ladies' dresses, or putting 
the finishing touch to a bonnet or a cap. By the revulsion 
of business which took place a few years after the war, Mr. 
Watson was led to lease his establishment to Mr. James 
Anderton, who had been bred a woollen manufacturer in Lan- 
c^Iiire, England. He occupied the mill for a few years, and 
then disposed of his interest to a countryman of his own, — 
Mr. Thomas Bottomly, — who continued to carry on the busi- 
ness there until 1825. 

While occupying this mill, Mr, Bottomly erected the works 
now owned by Samuel L. Hodges, Esq., np(m the same stream, 
and just below the mill of Mr. Watson, upon land which he 
I of Capt. Darius Cutting. 



• The flrat clothiei- in town was, I hnva vaaaon to belJsve, Alexander Pnrkn 
cnrae from Westborongh in 1T70. In lITl, he puroliased tlie mill and privile 
Samuel Watson afterwards carried on tlia business, in Chorry Valley. He C! 
tlie bvisiiiaes till sfter 1776, and was suooeedod by Asahel WRshbum, Jan., a 
nephew of Seth, abont . 1784. Mr. Washbnm left Leicester, and removed U 
borouf-li in Vermont, nbout 1797. Ho was snooeeded by Mr. Samnel Watson. J 
burn's son, of tliG same name, boi-n lii Leiceslar, is a clergyman in Siiffield, Ci 



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HISTORY OF LiaCKSTK!!. 31 

After a few years, an incorpomted company, taking the 
name of tlie Bottomly Manufacturing Company, purchased 
this estate, and carried on business there for several years 
under the superintendence of the former owner. 

Mr, Bottomly then purchased the site of a gristmill, formerly 
owned by Mr. John Sargent, and in 1837 proceeded to erect 
a manufacturing establishment, which was aftenvards sold to 
Mr. Effingham L. Capron, who carried on the same for several 
jea,vs. Since his death it has passed into other hands, and is 
called the Manhattan Company. 

Mr. Bottomly, in connection with hia son Booth, in 1850, 
purchased a privilege something like half a mile above the 
Great Road, upon the same stream, and erected a brick 
factory thereon ; in which the son has been carrying on the 
woollen business, and which now belongs to him. 

Besides these, there is, at what is called Mannville, near 
the Quaker Meeting-house, upon the same stream, a consider- 
able woollen mill belonging to Messrs. Mann and Marshall, 
giving an unwonted air of life and prosperity to that neigh- 
borhood ; and, close by the Great Road in Cherry Valley, Mr. 
L. Gf. Dickson has a small woollen mill standing upon the 
site of a former one which he had erected and which was 
burned. These, with a sawmill about a mile above Manii- 
vilie, another near the Quaker Meeting-house, and one about 
half a mile below, upon the farm of the late Capt, Daniel 
Kent, are operated by the waters of a stream once as incon- 
siderable as already stated. 

Up to 1821, the only works upon the stream flowing from 
Eumcoat Pond were a grist and saw mill near that pond, 
formerly belonging to Luke Converse ; the tan-works of 
Mr, Jonathan Warren, a mile, more or less, below ; a little 
sawmill belonging to Mr. Eikanah Haven, half a mile or 
more below that ; a saw and grist mill at what is now 
G-reenville; a scythe manufactory near to these, then called 
"Wall's Mills ; and a small cotton factory, which Mr. Thomas 



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32 HISTORY or LEICESTKR. 

Scott had erected near the turnpike, in what is now Clapp- 

In thit "veil, Mr. Anderton, above mentioned, piirchased 
the mdl and piivilege of Mr. Scott, and began the business of 
woollen manufacture. It proved to be a vahiable privilege; 
and I compinv was formed, which was incorporated as the 
Leicester Manufacturing Company, and enlarged the esta- 
blishment and extended the business. This corporation 
became united with one in Framingham called the Saxon 
Manufactory, which took the joint name of the two ; and the 
business was thus carried on for several years. 

The works in Leicester were then purchased by Mr. Joshua 
Clapp of Boston, afterwards a public - spirited citizen of 
Leicester, who gave his name to the village which had 
grown up around these works, and which it still retains. 
Since the death of Mr. Clapp, the establishment has been 
owned and carried on until recently by Eeuben S. Denny, 
Esq.; and, as a part of its history, it may be stated, that three 
of the mills belonging to it have been destroyed by fire and 
rebuilt within the last twelve or fifteen years. 

There was a branch of manufacture commenced by Mr. 
Edmond Snow in the town, in 1785, consisting of making 
hand-cards, cliiefly for the carding of wool for spinning for 
domestic use. It was, in fact, the dawn of a brightening 
day of prosperity to the town, to which it owes more of its 
growth and wealth than might at first be supposed. 

The work, at first and for many years, was done by hand, 
by the aid of such improved machinery as ingenuity from 
time to time supplied. Mr. Pliny Earle, at an early day, 
engaged in the business; and it owed much of its success 
to his inventive skill. 

Samuel Slater, the well-known father of the manufacture 
of cotton in America, ivas about commencing the experiment, 
but could not find machinerj' in the country suitable to his 
use, and was obliged to procure it to be made as best he 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 33 

could. This was about 1790. Among otlier things that 
he found it difficult to procure, were cards to clothe the 
machines by which be was to prepare his cotton for the 
spindle. After applying, without success, to several, he had 
an interview with Mr. Earle, who undertook to furnish the 
desired article ; which he succeeded in doing. But, to accom- 
plish this, he had to prick the holes in the leather, into 
which the teeth were to be inserted, by hand, with a couple 
of needles fitted and fastened into a handle. It was by cards 
thus manufactured that the first cotton ever spun in America 
by machinery was prepared for the spindle. 

This led to the invention of the machine, long in use here, 
for pricking " twilled " cards, for which Mr. Pliny Earle 
obtained letters-patent. It ia almost incredible, now that 
machines carried by water or other power for accomplishing 
the processes have become so common, that cards, in some 
years, to the value of two hundred thousand dollars, could 
have been produced in this town, in tlie manufacture of 
which every operation — from giving motion to the machines 
which pricked th J tl and cut the teeth, to the setting 
of these, tooth ly t tl nto the card —was performed by 
hand ; and yet 1 w 11 known to have been the case. 
The importance f tl b n h of business to the town, and 
its connection ^ th tl g wth and prosperity of the place, 
will, it is believed, justify, if it do not call for, a more minute 
account of its details, as well as of its recent condition, than 
might at first appear to be consistent with the plan of the 

The manufacture, at first, was confined to hand-cards ; and, 
as has been stated, was begun by Mr. Edmund Snow in 1785, 
That of machine-cards was added in 1790 ; and both were 
made in the same establishment, until the recent improve- 
ments in machinery which led to a separation of the busi- 
ness. 

The manufacture of machine-cards was begun by Mr. Pliny 



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34: HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Earle. In 1791, he associated his brothers Jonah and Silas 
with him in business, under the firm of " Pliny Earle and Bro- 
thers." This continued till near his death in 1832. Silas 
Earle carried on business in his own name from 1815 till his 
death in 1842. 

Col. Thomas Denny began the manufacture of hand-cards, 
in connection with William Earle, in the south-east part of the 
town, but removed to the village in 1802, and commenced 
manufacturing machine-cards in a building which stood where 
that occupied by the Bank now stands ; where he also kept 
the Post Office, after the removal of Mr. Adams. He manu- 
factured both kinds of cards extensively, with great success, 
till his death in 1814 ; and had thereby become the wealthiest 
individual in town. 

Winthrop Earle occupied a part of the dwelling-house in 
which Col. Denny lived, and began the manufacture of 
machine-cards in the same in 1802. He afterwards built a 
factory in rear of Col. Denny's, and carried on business there 
till his death in 1807. The business was continued by Mr. 
John Woodcock, a very ingenious mechanic, who had removed 
into town from Rutland in 1805. He was born in Easton, 
Mass., in 1775. A machine which he invented, and for which 
he obtained letters-patent, for reducing the leather used in the 
manufacture of cards to a uniform thickness by a very simple 
and speedy process, was of immense advantage to the busi- 
ness generaUy ; and the debt which the town owes to his 
ingenuity ought not to be forgotten. 

In 1808, Mrs. Earie having married Alpheus Smith, he 
became a partner with Mr. Woodcock, tinder the firm of 
" Woodcock and Smith." The building in which they carried 
on business was removed to the west side of the Hotel, — 
where Capt. Cutting's hat-shop had formerly stood, — now 
occupied by the brick store standing there ; and, in 1812, 
James Smith, Esq., who had come from Rutland a few years 
before, became a member of the firm. If I were at liberty to 



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LEICESTER. 



35 



Speak of living persons as I might wish, I could draw a ready 
iUustration, from the private history of this gentleman, of the 
success with which a diligent and honorable pursuit of this 
department of industry has so often been crowned in this com- 
munity. The business went on in the same name, though Mr. 
Woodcock had sold his interest in 1813, till the next year; 
when Alpheus Smith withdrew, and John A. Smith, Esq., and 
Kufus, his brothers, took his place, and the style of the iirm 
became " James and John A. Smith and Company." Mr. 
Woodcock died about this time ; leaving three sons and two 
daughters, and a handsome competence earned in his business. 
His son John, with Hiram Knight, Esq., and Emory Drury, 
joined the firm of "James and John A. Smith" in 1825. Rufus 
Smith having died in 1818, Mr. Drury left it in 1829, Mr. 
John A. Smith in 1830, and Mr. James Smith in 1833. In 1848, 
Messrs. Woodcock and Knight took in their sons, Theodore E. 
and Dexter ; and the business is still continued in the name 
of " Woodcoclc, Knight, and Company." 

Jonathan Barle commenced business at his residence on 
Mount Ploasant in 1804, and continued it till his death in 
1813. 

Isaac Southgate and Henry Sargent, whose names stand 
prominent among the men whose enterprise and public spirit 
have done so much for the town, began business in 1810, 
under the firm of " Southgate and Sargent." In 1812, Col. 
Sargent withdrew from the firm, and in 1814 took in his 
brother, Joseph D. Sargent, as a partner. The latter left in 
1819, and the former continued the business till the time 
of his death in 1829. 

From 1812 to 1826, Capf. Southgate was in business alone, 
but in that year formed a connection with Joshua Lamb, 
Dwight Biaco, Joseph A. Denny, Esq., and John Stone, under 
the firm of " Isaac Southgate and Company." Mr. Stone died 
in 1827. Tn 1828, the partners erected the large factory now 
standing in rear of the Meeting-house. Mr. Lamb left the firm 



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6b niSTORT OI^ LEICESTER. 

in 1831, and Capt. Southgate in 1843. In 1857, Charles A., 
the son of Mr. Denny, and George, a son of Mr. Bisco, be- 
came, and still are, partners with their fathers, under the 
firm of " Bisco and Denny." 

Col. Joseph D. Sargent continned in business until his death 
in 1849 ; Silas Jones, Esq., Nathan Ainsworth, and William 
Eoggs, having been at different times associated with him. 

After dissolving hia connection with James Smith in 1830, 
Mr. John A. Smith continued business alone until 1844 ; 
when Mr. Samuel Southgate, jun., and his son John S. Smith, 
succeeded him under the name of " Southgate and Smith ; " 
and in 1859 Mr. Southgate retired from the firm, and his 
place was taken by Horace Waite. 

Cheney Hatch, Esq., began business in 1823, and continued 
it till 1856. He was then succeeded by Alden Bisco ; who, in 
a few months, sold to Henry A. Denny ; who carried it on till 
1849, when he took in hia sons Joseph W. and William S. : 
and the firm of " Henry A. Denny and Sous " continued till 
1854, when they removed to AVorcester, and their business 
passed into the hands of "White and Denny." This firm 
consists of Alonzo White and Christopher C. Denny. 

Mr. White had been a partner with Mr. Josiah Q. Lamb 
from 1836 to 1846. After that, Mr. Lamb carried on business 
alone till his death in 1850. 

Josephua Woodcock, son of the first Mr. John Woodcock ; 
Benjamin Confelin, jun., who had married one of his daugh- 
ters ; and Austin Conklin, — began business under the firm 
of " Conklin, Woodcock, and Company," in 1828. In 1830, it 
was dissolved ; and Josephus, with his brother Lucius, took 
the business, under the name of "J. and L. Woodcock." The 
next year they took in Danforth Rice, who left the firm in 
1836 ; and William P. White joined it in 1848. 

After dissolving with James Smith, Alpheus carried on 
business extensively in his own name, in the building now 
the dweUing-housc of H. G. Henshaw, Esq., until 1823; when 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 37 

his brother Horace took the business, smd carried it on till his 
death in 1828. 

Joshua Murdock, jun., bega.n business, in 1841, with Samuel 
Southgate, jun. On Mr. Southgate's withdrawing from the 
firm, Mr. Murdock took in his brother Joseph; and, in 1857, 
another brother, John N, : and they are still in business, 

Reuben Meriam began business in 1821, and continued till 
1831 ; having in the mean time had, as partners, Mr, George 
W. Morse and Henry A. Denny. 

Harry Ward carried on business from 1810 till his death in 
1824. 

Samuel Hurd and Baylies Upham were in business, as part- 
ners, from 1825 to 1833. Then Mr. Upham carried it on alone 
until 1850, when he took in Erving Sprague. In 1855, Mr. 
Sprague left the firm ; and, in 1857, Mr. Upham removed 
to Worcester. 

John H. and William Whittemore began business in 1843. 
In 1851, the senior partner was accidentally killed upon the 
Westeni Eailroad. His brother James had joined the firm in 
1850; and it is still continued. 

It is not in my power to mention all who have been en- 
gaged in the biisiness of manufacturing hand-cards. Among 
them were Mr, Daniel Denny, — son of Col. Samuel, and father 
of the gentleman, of the same name, now President of the 
Hamilton Bank in Boston, — who carried on business in 
Cherry Valley, in the house opposite the Southgate Place, 
in 1792; Capt. Wilham Sprague and Sons; Barnard Upham; 
Roswell Sprague, who, as is stated in another part of our 
work, was extensively engaged in the general manufacture 
of cards and merchandise, and afterwards removed to New 
York, where he has been a successful merchant; Samuel D. 
Watson, who was in prosperous business for several years 
at his place, lately owned by Silas Gleason, Esq. ; Aaron Morse, 
who afterwards kept the hotel opposite the Meeting-house ; 
Guy S. Newton ; Timothy Earle ; Samuel Southgate ; and 



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38 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

■William H. Scott. The largest establiehment now engaged 
in this department of the business is Joseph B. Sargent and 
Edward Sargent, sons of Col. Joseph D. Sargent, in the brick 
factory west of the Meeting-house ; who can manufacture 
more than two thousand doaen pairs of cards each week. 

But, without going any further into details of the industry 
of the town, I will refer to statistics of the business done 
here at the several times, when, by order of the Legislature, 
returns were made from the several towns of the results of 
their productive industry. 

In 1837, the woollen mills of the town employed three 
hundred and forty-four hands and a capital of $180,000, pro- 
ducing cloths valued at $319,450 ; there were seventeen 
manufactories of cards, employing a capital of $74,000, and 
producing $152,000 worth of cards annually; and the aggre- 
gate of the products of the several manufactures carried on 
in the town was |531,439 during that year. 

The return for the year 184.5 showed a much less favorable 
state of business. Only a hundred and eighty-four were 
employed in the woollen mills, and the product of their labor 
was but $250,500 ; eighteen card-manufactories produced 
$154,700 value of cards; and the sum total of the manufac- 
turing products of the town was only $452,065. 

The return of 1855 presents a much more gratifying result. 
The woollen mills were employing three hundred and forty- 
two hands, producing goods valued at $560,600 ; twelve 
card-manufactories produced $175,000; boots and shoes, the 
manufacture of which had been then recently introduced, 
amounted to $85,000 : showing an aggregate product of the 
mechanical and manufacturing business of the town of over 
$900,000. 

The amount of business in the town and vicinity induced 
the Legislature to charter a bank here in 1826, with a capital 
of $100,000 ; which has since been increased to $200,000. 
It has been in successful operation since June of that year. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



39 



John Clapp, Esq., was its first president ; and John A. Smith, 
its cashier. Mr. Clapp was succeeded by Hon. N. P. Denny, 
and Mr. Smith by H. G. Henshaw, Esq. Joseph A. Denny, Esq., 
succeeded Hon. N. P. Denny as president, and D. B. Meriam, 
Esq., Mr. Henshaw as cashier, in 1845. Cheney Hatch, Esq., 
■who succeeded Mr. Denny, has been its president for several 
years past. It is a well-managed and prosperous institution. 

In connection with the fecilities which they furnish for the 
transaction of business, it is proper to speak of the principal 
highways in the town. There are within the town probably 
more than seventy-five miles of ways, town and county, whose 
support is chargeable to the inhabitants ; but, heavy as this 
charge is, few are more cheerfully borne. The laying-out 
of these, when done by the town, fonns a part of its records ; 
and, by the objects referred to for the purposes of description, 
one can often read the changes that have taken place in the 
face of the country, and the condition of the people, since 
the earlier stages of their history. These go back to the 
time when the Meeting-house was closely hemmed in by the 
primitive forest, and the scattered settlers were at war witli 
the wild beasts that roamed through the wilderness.* 

The present road to Paxton was laid out in 1721, and 
began at a " black-birch standing neai' a great red-oak, behind 
the Meeting-house and close by the same," and ran thence 
through the woods by marked trees. 

In 1744, a road was laid out from the south line of the 
town, near the house of the late Mr. Thomas Parker, to Dr. 
Green's ; one of its bounds being the " said Green's wolf-pit," 
which was, as recollected by the older inhabitants, a little 
to the north-east of Mr. Parker's house, and was dug for the 
purpose of taking wolves, hj which the first settlers were 
much annoyed. 

The principal road in the town has, from the first, been 

* The location of sevBraJ of Uiese ways is given in Hie Appeiiilix. 



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40 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

the great Post Road, formerly called the Country Road, from 
Boston to Albany. 

There was a communication, by land, Letween the settle- 
ments around Boston, and those at Hartford and Springfield 
upon Connecticut River, from the time of the emigration of 
the Rev. Mr. Hooker with his flock from Newtown in 1635. 
This journey required a fortnight for its accomplishment. 
Their route, probably, was through what is now Leicester. 
But a new line of travel was afterwards adopted, leading 
through the soutlierly part of Northborough, Westborough, 
and Grafton, which was called the Connecticut Path ; it being 
little more than a mere path which could be travelled on 
horseback. The principal coramnnication, for a considerable 
time after the settlement at Hartford, was by water ; and 
for many years after the destruction of Erookfield, and the 
dispersing of the settlement at Worcester, there were no 
inhabitants west of Marlborough, before reaching the settle- 
ments on the Connecticut. The direction of this line of 
communication was afterwards changed, so as to run through 
the centre of Northborough, Shrewsbury, Worcester, and 
Leicester, and was called the New Connecticut Eoad, though 
it still was but a rugged track through the forest. 

In 1722, the town voted that the selectmen should apply 
to the Court of Sessions to have the Country Eoad laid out 
through this town. It had been previously laid out as a 
road; for, in a deed to the Rev, David Parsons, in March, 
1721, it is called " the Country Road/ormerly laid out to Tow- 
taid." But probably it had not been done by any competent 
body of men to constitute it a legal highway. The appli- 
cation to the County Commissioners in 1722 failed, and it 
was then laid out as a townway.* In a deed dated in 1727, 
the parcel granted bounds " northerly by the road as it was 

* Fnr a reonnl of tliia loc.Kioi!, pco Aiipeiidlx, whicli wiU give soma iiien of its 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTEK. 41 

laid out by the selectmen of tho town, but commonly called 
the Country Eoad." * 

The direction of this road through the town has been 
changed, from time to time, within the recollection of the 
present generation. It formerly passed from New Worces- 
ter, over the summit of the hill, and near to the dwelling- 
house of Mr. John Sargent; and, from what is now Mr, 
Dickinson's factory, it passed up just above the house for- 
merly of Matthew Watson, and along the brow of the hill to 
where the Waite Tavern used to stand. Another change was 
in its direction over Mount Pleasant. It passed directly up 
the hill, and along in front of the house formerly owned by 
Hon. N. P. Denny. 

In 1806, the Worcester and Stafford Turnpike was laid out 
through the south part of the town ; and, by a singular kind 
of civil engineering then in general use, it was laid as nearly 
as might be in a direct line; though, to do so, it had to 
surmount the longest hills and steepest acclivities, from the 
summits of which the wearied travelled might see the plea- 
sant and convenient valleys, along which, without an increase 
of distance, the way might originally have been laid. 

Before the location of this road, the travel from Charlton 
was by the road which led by the mills in Greenville ; then 
on the road towards the Meeting-house, as far as the house of 
the late John King, Esq. ; and then by the road leading by the 
Henshaw Place into the Great Eoad, at what is now Dickin- 
son's woollen mill.f Tlie travel from Sturbridge was by 
what was called the County Eoad ; coming into the Great 

* Tliis TOSid was originally laiil out by the town, four rods wide. I infer from other 
ciroiim stances that it was laid ont by the county in lTa8. It must have tlien been very 
steep in its passage over the Meeting-housa Hill ; for 1 find the town, in ITTl, appro- 
pri.iting money "to iwaei' the hill called Meeting-honse HIil." And the exl«nt to 
Aviiich it has been reduced within fifty yeiirs pastjas many will remembei',htiB changed 
iU degree of elevation most essentially within that time. 

t riiis road wsa laid ont by the town, in 1T3B, through lands then of SoHthgate, 
Steele (Henshaw's), Betliune (Tainter's), William Green (late John King's), "into the 
way that leads through Green's iand towards Uie Meeting-house." 



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42 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Eoad at the house, afterwards, of Beacon Miirdoclf, half a 
mile west of the Meeting-house. 

There was a road early laid out from tlie Meeting-house to 
Gfreen's Mills, — now Greenville, — for the purpose of provid- 
ing access to these, for the accommodation of the people. It 
varied somewhat from the road as at present travelled.* 

In the winter of 1826, the subject of adopting railroads as 
a mode of transportation began to attract attention. The 
system was then in its infancy. A short one had been put 
into operation at the Quincy quarries, for the transportation 
of stone ; and, as no locomotive had then been invented, the 
only power applied was that of horses. In the June Session 
of the Legislature of that year, Abner Phelps, George W. 
Adams, and Emory Washburn, were appointed a Committee 
of the House, " to take into consideration the practicability 
and expediency of constructing a railway from Boston, on 
the most eligible route, to the western line of the county of 
Berkshire; in order that, if leave can be obtained of the 
government of New York, it may be extended to the most 
desirable point on the Hudson River at or near Albany." 

As this was the first step ever taken in the inauguration of 
that enterprise which has been of such immeasurable advan- 
tage to the State, and as one of the Committee was then a 
representative from this town, it seemed a fit occasion to 
allude to the subject ; since the conclusions to which the Com- 
mittee came, that they were " satisfied of the practicability 
and convinced of the expediency of constructing a railway 
from Boston to the Hudson," though much ridiculed at the 
time, were successfully and triumphantly carried out and 
accomplished before the year 1841. 

The Boston and Worcester Eailroad was opened for use, 
July 6, 1835. In 1838, one of the Committee, whose judg- 
ment upon the subject had been so much sneered at in 1827, 



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HISTORY OF I.Ert'ESTER. 43 

had the satisfaction, as chairman, on the part of the House, 
of a Committee in that year, to report in favor of a loan of 
the credit of the State to aid the Western Railroad to com- 
plete the same to Albany ; and, by the confidence which 
the measure had then obtained, the same was carried by a 
decided vote through both branches. In 1841, Dec. 27, the 
road was formally opened for the pubhe use. It runs through 
the south part of the town, and had been in use for some 
time before the entire work was completed. 

The opening of this road wrought an entire revolution in 
the course of public travel through the town. It shortened 
the time of a passage to Boston from eight hours to three : 
but it put an end to the lines of stage-coaches, which, two or 
three times a day, used to keep alive the attention of the vil- 
lagers by their an-ival and departure, and made the bar-room 
of the hotel, for a few moments every day, a kind of public 
exchange, where friends met to greet each other, news was 
told, politics discussed, and a free intercourse kept up with 
the outside world. 

Besides these, there was a large amount of travel through 
the town in pleasure-can-iages, and especially by teams em- 
ployed in transporting produce to Boston, and bringing sup- 
plies of goods for the country from that market. 

Stage-coaches show a step in the progress of business in 
Massachusetts, aa marked in its day as that by railroads in onr 
own. The first line of these was designed to carry passengers 
between Boston and New York, by the way of Springfield and 
Hartford, It was estabhshed by Levi Pease, then of Somers, 
Conn., and Eeuben Sikes, then of Hartford, Oct. 20, 1783, 
running stage^oagom between HarEford and Boston.* They 

• In 1783, June 13, an adTartisement was published in the " Spy ; " — 
"Stage-Coaoh ifBOM WoHCESTBR TO BoBTOH. — A genUemaii in Boston, who is 
pOFBfssed of o genteel stnge-ooaoh and a iyjan ^good horses, would wilhngly be con- 
cerned with a trusty [lerson, oapable of driving snid stage from Boston to Worcastar 
and from Worcester io Boston, wef%, and transiicting the business consequent thereon." 
But no one accepted the offer, and tile scheme was abiindoncd. 



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44 HISTORY or LEICESTEE. 

left Hartford at eleven o'clock, a.m., on Monday ; and reached 
Somers at night, stopping at Pease's Tavern: on Tuesday 
they reached Hice's, at Brookfield : on Weckiesday they 
reached Northhorough, at Martin's ; and arrived at Boston on 
Thursday evening. The retura stages left Boston on Monday, 
and reached Hartford on Thursday, The fare charged was 
fourpence per mile. This was the pioneer enterprise in the 
way of carrying passengers between these cities, and pre- 
sents, in strong contrast, the time then occupied with that 
required by the present mode of travel, as well as the number 
of passengers to be carried. The traveller accomplishes now 
nearly as much in an hour aa he was then able to do in a 
day.* 

The mail between Boston and New York was carried on 
horseback ; and a man, whom I knew, was living a few years 
ago in Charlemont, who used to " ride post " between these 
cities during the Eevolution. It was afterwards carried hj 
these stage-wagons. But the multiplication of post-offices is a 
thing of a much more recent date. 

There was, I have reason to infer, a post-office established 
in Leicester in 1798 ; and, according to the recollection of an 
aged informant, Ebenezer Adams, Esq., was the first commis- 
sioned postmaster. Previous to that {in 1796), there was not, 
I believe, any post-office between Worcester and Springfield. 
He was succeeded in the ofKce by Col. Thomas Denny; and, 
upon his death, Col. Henry Sargent was appointed to the place. 
Upon his death, Mr. John Sargent succeeded to the office ; 
and the present incumbent (Mr. Henry D. Hatch), upon the 
death of Mr; Sargent, became his successor. 

It would be of no practical utility to attempt to enumerate 
those who have at different times been engaged in the trade 
of merchandise in the town. 



• I find the folk 


iwinK mar 


.n,.„ 


ndiiTii 


in 


BpriV 


Htedil 


irvofa 


res 


ident of Leioe 


sfor:~ 


" 1T86, Mi,y 30. 
Paid for my ride in 


- Set out 

the ^.tiige 


; fur 


Bosti 
i. ed.i 


sp 


in tha 


stnge. 


. Am' 

1,. m 


led 
d." 


at Boston thi 


It niglLt. 



rdb, Google 



HISTORY OF LEICESTKli. 4.") 

I find the name of William Larkin in a process in court in 
1735, in which he is styled ■' trader." He came from Boston, 
and owned the house which John Stebbings had built, where 
Mr. May's house now stands : and, if he carried on trade, it 
was probably in the same house ; for I have reason to believe 
that the first building erected especially for a store in town 
was that built by a Mr. Posgate in 1770. This was upon half 
an acre of land which he purchased of the Rev. Mr. Conklin, 
and stood nearly in front of the present Academy Building, 
close by the road. It was originally a small building, but 
was elongated from time to time, till it came into the occupa^ 
tion of Mr. Daniel McFarland in July, 1802. 

Mr. Fosgate came from Bolton, and remained here but about 
a year. His immediate successor in trade was the Hon. 
Joseph Allen, who purchased the place in 1772, and soon after 
erected a dwelling-house upon the land. In 1777, Aaron 
Lopez purchased the estate, with an additional half-acre of 
land, and erected thereon the building which was afterwards 
occupied as the Academy, and in it cai-ried on an extensive 
trade. He was a man of large wealth ; and his stock of goods, 
at the time of his death, was appraised at twelve thousand 
dollars. His death took place in 1782. 

Mr. Thomas Stickney removed from Newburyport to Leices- 
ter, and opened a store upon Mount Pleasant, about 1785. He 
owned the estate afterwards owned by Major Swan, — then 
of imposing elegance, — upon the south side of the Great 
Road; and his store adjoined his house. He died in July, 1791. 
John and Joseph Stickney, brothers of Thomas, carried on 
trade several years in the house, on Moimt Pleasant, which 
afterwards belonged to Jonathan Earfe, and subsequently to 
Hon. N. P. Denny. They both died in 1803: Joseph, Nov. 2; 
John, Dec. 5. Both were bachelors. 

Col. Thomas Denny, about 1802, commenced and carried on 
business as a trader till his death, in a building which stood* 
upon the spot where the brick store, next east of the Tavern, 



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46 inSTORT OF LEICESTER. 

stands, now occupied by the Bank. In 1792, Messrs. Wiitney 
and Hammond opened a store in this building, and continued 
business there a year or two. Mr, Phinehaa Waite then occu- 
pied a part of it a while for the same purpose. 

About 1792, William S. Harris, from Boston, opened a store 
in the Fosgate Building; which was occtipied afterwards, a 
short time, by William Earle, a eon of Mr, Thomas Earle, iu 
1795. Mr. Harris married Elizabeth Conklin, daughter of 
Eev. Mr. Conklin, and removed to the South, His brother 
Stephen, about the same time, engaged in the business of a 
bakery ; which he carried on extensively in the basement 
of the west part of Mr. Swan's tavern-house, where Capt. 
Knight's house stands. He married Sally Denny, daughter 
of Col, Samuel, and removed to Norfolk, Va. 

Mr. Daniel McFarland commenced trade in the building 
which had been occupied by Mr. Harris, in 1802; and con- 
tinued there until the erection of a two-story brick store 
opposite the Academy, which has since been converted into 
a dwelling-house. He carried on business there until his 
death ; and was succeeded by his brother, Mr. Horace Mc- 
Tarland, wlio continued the business for a few years. 

Mr. Boswel! Spi^ague erected a large store, in which he 
carried on merchandise and the manufactore of cards for 
several years, tiU his removal to New York. The same has 
since been owned, and occupied as a dwelling-houao, by Mr. 
Eeuben Meriam. 

In later years, Mr, John Sargent, Mr. Danforth Kice, and, 
at a period contemporary with Mr. Daniel McFarland, Col. 
Ignatius Goulding, have been among those who were engaged 
in the business of trade in the town,* 

The names which have by usage been attached to some of 



* There i 


™-e 


sevoral small stn 


res connected wil 


:h the vn ami factories of op 


>i'[js; it 


belnfi oustoiT 


iRrvi 


bo employ iininert 


ms fHmilieK in Bee 


tinK the teeth of the CRtda 


mano- 


fiiclurod, mi( 
luid OH salo 


fo7s 


pay them "nut 


! the atort," or in 


L sucli goods iis the manul 





rdb, Google 



HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 47 

the villages have already been mentioned. That of Clicny 
Valley, in the east part of the town, came into general use 
after 1820 ; that of Clappville, about 1830 ; and that of Maun- 
ville, in 1856. 

The name of Greenville has been applied, within a few- 
years, to the village around the Baptist Meeting-house, and 
mills near it ; and is derived from Capt. Samuel Green, one 
of the first settlers of the town, who erected here the first 
sawmill in the town. He had also erected a gristmill upon 
the same privilege as early as 1724. The place was so 
favorable for such works, and their need to a new settlement 
so pressing, that three lots of thirty acres each, with the 
privilege of the stream, were granted, as has been stated, — 
two of them to Samuel Green, and one to Thomas Richardson, 
— upon the condition that they should erect mills thereon. It 
is believed that the condition was performed, and the land 
taken, wholly by Capt. Green ; who became one of the found- 
ers of a numerous family, — a man of wealth, and of great 
influence in the town. 

It may, however, be stated in this connection, that this 
was not the earliest gristmill in the town. That was erected, 
at the outlet of Town Meadow, about 1722 ; and parts of the 
original dam and raceway remained there until the erection 
of the present dam of the brick factory belonging to Messrs. 
J. B. and E. Sargent. This mill was erected by Joseph Par- 
sons in pursuance of a vote of the town, exempting it from 
all taxes if he would proceed speedily to erect it. And yet 
there is reason to believe that it could only have run in the 
winter months ; for the hay upon the meadow was too valuable 
to allow it to be destroyed by flowing the land in the sum- 
mer season, and small parcels of the meadow continued to be 
regarded as valuable appendages to other lands many years 
after 1722. 

The condition of the colored population of the town de- 
serves a passing note in speaking of its local statistics. 



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48 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

Tlie last vestige of the tribe of Indians that inhabited here 
has long ago disappeared. It was a place of consequence 
enough to have a distinctive name and a separate sachem; 
but, beyond its name, literally nothing remains of them. Their 
story was that of most of the tribes in New England : they 
disappeared ; and the only memorials of the perished race 
are an arrowhead, a pipe, or a stone hatchet, occasionaJly 
turned up by the plough on the spots where they built 
their wigwams or planted their cornfields. The degenerate 
relics of a few of these tribes, here and there, still retain 
something of their color, and much of the habits of thriftless- 
ness of the ancestors from whom they trace a questionable 
descent. One of these was the Hasnamiaeo or Grafton Tribe, 
One of the few remaining members of that tribe, by the 
name of Polly Johns, died here some fifty years ago. She 
was the last person in the town having Indian blood in her 
veins. 

It is difficult to fix the number of uegmea who have been 
residents here at different periods, from the want of proper 
censuses in the early history of the town. In that of 1754, 
there were six; in 1764-5, seven; in 1790, eight ; in 1800, 
seven; 1810, twenty-three; 1820, two; 1830, four; 1840, six; 
and 1850, one. Their number at any time would not have 
called for any special notice, if with it there had not been 
connected, at one period, the question of tho existence and 
extent of slavery in the town. 

That slavery nominally existed here is undoubtedly true. 
The census of 1754 shows the number to be six. But, had they 
seen fit to teat the question of their being held as such, it would 
probably have been found, that hy the provisions of the Body 
of Liberties in Massachusetts, of 1640, most of them were free 
by reason of having been born in the Province.* But they 

• The oinuse to which I refer, and whiuh declares the law on ilie subject, was in 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 49 

continued to be reckoned among the household property, 
partly from its being a traditional institution handed down 
to the people of the Colony from the mother-country, whose 
validity no one thought of questioning ; and partly because 
the mildness with which they were treated, in the families 
in which they were domesticated, gave little occasion for 
disBatisfaction or discontent on the part of the slave. In the 
country, they were accounted of little value in the way of 
traffic ; and we are told by Dr. Belknap that they were often 
given away in their infancy, like the young of many domestic 
animals, to those who were willing to take them, and rear 
them in their families. And what serves to show the character 
of their general treatment, and their own feelings in regard to 
it, better than any thing else, is the fact, that after it had been 
solemnly decided, in Quork Walker's case in this county, that, 
by the adoption of the Constitution in 1780, every slave in 
Massachusetts was declared free, a large proportion of them 
continued to reside in the families of their former masters as 
long as they lived. 

Among the names of those known to have been held as 
slaves in Leicester were three belonging to Capt. Lyon, — 
C^sar, Quashi, and Prince, — to whom he gave their freedom. 
Titus belonged to Col. Washburn, and was freed at the age of 
twenty, though he Jived in the family tiU his death. Jenny, 
his mother, belonged to Mrs. Sergeant, who was a sister of 
Mr. Thomas Denny, and became the second wife of Col. 
Washburn in 1788. Jethro belonged to Mr. Joseph Sprague ; 
but, after his death, remained in the family of his son, Capt. 
William Sprague, as long as he lived. Though deaf and 
dumb, he was bright and intelligent. At his death, he was 
laid in the old hurying-ground behind the Meeting-house, — 
the It^t person buried there. 

or arB aoH to us." Consequently, there never 
hHve been lawfully held as a slave in Mnssaohi 
Soc. OoaecHoas, Fonrtti Series, vol. iv. p. 334. 



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50 HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 

Aaron Lopez came from Newport, where slaves were more 
numerous than in the interior of Massachusetts, and brought 
with him three men, two women, and one boy. Mr. Rivera, 
who removed to Leicester with him, had three men and three 
women. Aii these, it is believed, went back with the families 
of their masters to Newport after the war. 

Cain Bowman was the slave of Edward Bond, who had 
undoubtedly freed him before 1778: for I find him mustered 
that year, as a soldier in the army, by Col. Washburn ; who 
would have violated the law, had he done so while he remained 
a slave. One who had been a slave before the war, and re- 
sided here after it, by the name of Peter Salem, will be noticed, 
in another connection, as one of the historical personages of 
the day. 

I should need no further proof of the estimation in which 
slaves were held here, if I were not able to refer to the recol- 
lection of living witnesses, than the case of a slave which 
Samuel Denny of Maine* conveyed to his brother, Gapt. 
Daniel Denny, — the first of that name in Leicester, -- in 
1752. The boy's name was Richard, and he was then five 
years of age. By the conveyance, he was to be held until 
he was thirty, with a power in the grantor to dispose of him 
after that time by will. But the grantee was restricted from 
selling or disposing of him to any one except one of his own 
children, and never to sell him for gain or ^profit. In his bill 
of gift, he charged his brother " that he and they deal kindly 
by and with the poor boy ; that they look upon him as a poor 
orphan; and especially that they hold themselves engaged 
to bring him up in the fear of God, and do that to and for 
him that will bear a trial ; knowing he has a precious soul as 



* Shtiiu-I D'niiy e^me from Kiiglitnil with liis brother Daniol, and his sister l[rs. 
P oe 1- fe ( R V Thomas Prince of the Olil South Cimroli, Boston. Ha scttipil in 
M ne nboit 1728 anil betiame h leadhig man in LinonJn County; being "first Judge 
of the Court of Plaaa" at the time of his death. Danuj-Bville, In that StiiCe, was 
Damsd froia him 



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HISTORY OF LEICERTEK. 51 

well as we." Capt. Denny bequeathed the boy, by his last 
will, to hts son Col. Samuel, for the balance of the time for 
which he was entitled to his service ; and he died while a 
member of the family of the devisee. 

It is hardly necessary to remark, that, with views and feel- 
ings like these on the part of masters, slavery ia robbed of 
most of its odiousness, regarded as a personal relation of the 
parties. But there was a strong and growing sentiment in 
Massachusetts, before the war, adverse to the institution ; 
and when the war broke out, for the professed purpose of 
securing their liberties, there was such an obvious incon- 
sistency in holding slaves, that many formally emancipated 
them.* Col. Timothy Bigelow did but speak the public een- 
timent when he declared, that, "while fighting for liberty, 
he never would be guilty of selling slaves."! 

Nor was it by profession only that the owners of these 
slaves, so long as they retained them, showed their dispo- 
sition to ameliorate their condition. They worked with them 
in the same field, ate at the same table, and the master's chil- 
dren grew up with feelings towards them of almost fraternal 
regard. 

Such was slavery, not only in Leicester, but in every other 
country town in Massachusetts. 

There was one black man here, who, if ever a slave, had 
become free and a freeholder in 1754. His name upon the 
records, as well as by his contemporaries, was "Black Tom." 
He lived in a house remote from any neighbor, in the south- 



1 his manTilus; Kdwfird 
ihi, and Priuoe. Otliers 

t In the Instraotions lo thair represeulntiTe, Col. Tliomns Denny, in May, 1773, 
which will be foniid in the Appendix, is this noble deolamtioni " As we Imva the high- 
est resiird for (sn even ns to revere ths iinnie of) liberty, «-e onnnot behold but with 
the gr&iteat nbhorrence any of onr fellow-orentures in a state of slavery. Therefore 
WB strictly enjoin you to use your utmost influeuce, that a stop may be pnt to the 
slaTa-trade by the inhabitants of this Province." 



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5'2 HISTORT OF Li:lCESTEK. 

west part of the town. With ready ingenuity, Tom was 
able to turn his hand to various kinds of handicraft, hy which 
he gained a comfortable livehhood, and was thus enabled to 
cherish a happy temperament with which lie was bom. He 
became, in this way, a favorite among his lighter-complexioned 
neighbors. Tom was, withal, a sincere and humble Christian, 
and a careful observer of all his religious duties ; but, as he 
kept neither watch nor almanac, he sometimes unwittingly 
suffered secular work to interfere with holy time. 

One Sunday afternoon, a neighbor, passing by Tom's dwell- 
ing, was surprised to hear him singing, in a lo\id and unmis- 
takable tone, a tune which had little of the psalm about 
it. Upon his going up to his door, he was stili more surprised 
to find him, in his working-day garb and with his coat off, 
busily engaged upon an ox-yoke, which he had nearly com- 
pleted. Upon the neighbor's expressing his astonishment in 
finding Tom thus employed, and reminding him that the day 
was Sunday, Tom threw down his tools, and, after a moment's 
reflection, exclaimed, " Well, massa, Lord knows I didn't 
mean to cheat him ; and I won't : I'll keep to-morrow for 
Sunday instead." And he kept his promise. 

Within the memory of some, there stood upon the County 
Hoad, so called, in the south-west part of the town, a email 
log-house, — the last of that pioneer class of dwellings in 
which the first settlers found shelter while they were erect- 
ing more comfortable habitations. The house, at the time 
of which I am speaking, was occupied hj Rose Finnemore * 
and her son Csesar Augustus. His brother Avcbelaus lived 
at that time at Harwood Place, about half a mile west of Mr, 
Eber Bond's. The family, as might be inferred from the 
names of the brothers, were much inclined to honor the me- 
mories of ancient worthies by adopting their names for family 
use. The scions of this illustrious stock became in time quite 

" The fiiinily liad emisrared here from Greenfield. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 53 

numerous ; and, upon Mrs. Caesar Augustus becoming a mem- 
ber of the church, it became proper that her household should 
be baptized. Some may remember — for, if they witnessed 
it, they would not readily forget it — the occasion when this 
goodly array of some half a score of children took their stand 
in the broad aisle, one in its father's arms, and approached 
the font. The eldest received the baptismal name of Romu- 
lus ; the next, Eemus ; and the others, in turn, rejoiced in 
equally illustrious names of Roman emperors, and heroes of 
olden time, till it came the turn of the baby. Here patriotism 
had gotten the better of the parent's love of classic renown, 
and crowned the little citizen — it was before the day of 
Dred Scott — with the name of James Madison, the then 
President of the United States. As this little episode, in 
the usual Sunday services in the church, took place while the 
beat of excitement between the old Federal and Pemocratic 
parties was at its height, soon after the election of Mr. Madi- 
son, there was something approaching a smile upon some of 
the countenances of the congregation, when this last little 
hope of the bouse received the name of that distinguished 
patriot and statesman upon his family escutcheon. 

But the log-bouse soon after disappeared ; Rose was ga- 
thered to her fathers; and Ctesar and bis numerous house- 
hold, one after another, stricken down by the hand of 
consumption, so fetal to the colored race in this climate, soon 
followed to the land of f 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTEli.. 



CHArTER HI. 

MUKlCd'AL AFFAIRS. — FIEST SETTLERS. — PECUNIARY EMBARRASS- 
MENTS.— CURRENCY AND PRICES. — REPRESENTATIVES. — SCHOOLS 
AND TEACHERS. — LIBRARY, &c. 

The first recorded town-meeting of the inhabitants of Leices- 
ter was held March 6, 1721-2 ; which, to correspond to the 
present style, would be March 17, 1722. But the record of 
that meeting shows that the town had already been organized, 
and provided with town-officers, by previous elections; for a 
Committee was raised on that occasion to settle with their 
treasurer. They had also then a meeting-house belonging 
to the town ; for, at this meeting in March, a person was 
appointed to take charge of it, and measures were taken 
toward finishing pews and seats in it. We are, consequently, 
at a loss to fix the precise date when the town assumed the 
functions of a body politic by its first election of civil officers. 
From the number of families that we are able to trace as 
being here in 1717, it is probable that they began to have 
meetings as early aa 1718. They were represented in the 
Genera! Court, in 1721 ; as appears by a vote in May, 1722, 
to pay Judge Menzies, who had served them in that capacity 
in 1721. From supposed or real informality in the early 
action of the town, they felt it necessary to apply to the 
General Court for authority to assess and collect their taxes, 
in June, 1722. After this, their proceedings seem to have 
been regular and uninterrupted as a town. 

Among the families whom we find here in 1717 were 
Richard and James Soutbgate and Daniel Denny, who came 
into town in July of that year ; Capt. Samuel Green, and his 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 55 

eon Thomas, afterwards Dr. Thomas ; Jamea Wilson ; and, 
as the records render probable, Samuel Stebbins, the father 
of John and Joseph, who came here with him from England. 
Ralph Earlo came here in 1718 ; and Arthur Carey was 
probably here at as early or an earlier period. Ebenezer 
Elliot was here in 1719 ; and Daniel Livermorej as early as 
1720. The same was true of the families of John Armstrong, 
Edmond Taylor, and Hezekiah Ruse. Thomas Newhall was 
still earlier in town, and Judge Menzies was carrying on his 
farm in July of 1719. 

At the toivn-meeting in March, 1722, Samuel Green was 
chosen moderator, first selectman, first assessor, and grand 
juror, for the year. The other selectmen were John Smith, 
Nathaniel Richardson, James Southgate, and John Lynd. Na- 
thaniel Richardson was chosen town-clerk ; Hezekiah Rusa 
and William Earie, constables ; Richard Southgate, treasurer ; 
Joshua Nichols, one of the assessors; Wiiliam Brown, one 
of the surveyors of highways ; Samuel Stebbins and Daniel 
Livermore, fence-viewers; and William Green and Rowland 
Taylor, tithing-men. I have given these names principally t-o 
show who, at that early day, were among the men of considera- 
tion in the town ; and among them will be recognized the 
ancestors of families, some of whom were formerly well known 
in town, and some are remaining at the present time. 

Among the subjects that troubled the inhabitants for many 
years after the settlement of the town was how to meet the 
expenses incident to a town-organization. 

In the first place, they had to provide a minister, and sup- 
port him ; and this rendered it necessary to erect a meeting- 
house. Their highways were a heavy charge; and in 1725, 
and again in 1729, they were indicted for not having erected a 
bridge over Seven-mile River.* They were, as will be shown 
hereafter, in constant trouble with their minister. 

• This stream is in tho westerly purl of Spencer, and crosses tlia Great Post Road; 
being oue of the most considerable Btrenms in tluit tawn. 



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56 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Iq 1731, for the first time, they iindertook to support a 
school, and contented themselves with a single one, kept, 
for the space of three months, in three different parts of the 
town. The total expense was £10. 10s. of the then depre- 
ciated currency : but even this trifle seems to have been 
felt as beyond their means ; for they made no provision for 
a school in 1732 ; and the consequence was, the town was 
indicted at the Quarter Sessions for the neglect. Finding it 
a better expenditure of money to support a school than to pay 
fines, the inhabitants provided one, next year, for reading and 
writing, for the term of three months ; and the same was kept 
at the house of Jonathan Sargent. He kept a public-house 
in a building, afterwards torn down, which stood opposite 
the Catholic Church. 

But no measures were taken for procuring a achoolhouse 
before 1736 ; when it was voted to erect one, twenty by six- 
teen feet, and six and a half feet " between joynts," — to be 
placed " about ten rods north of the Meeting-house, in the 
most convenantest place." The spot finally adopted seems 
to have been close by the road upon the Common, a few rods 
east of the then Meeting-house. 

In 1741, the town had to raise a hundred pounds to cover 
and finish the Meeting-house, till then unfinished; and, in 
1743, to enlarge it. 

These were some of the sources of expense which weighed 
heavily upon the town. There was, moreover, a difficulty in 
raising money by taxation, from the lands of the town being 
held in such large quantities by single proprietors, and so 
large a proportion of them being not only unimproved, but, 
many of them, held by non-resident proprietors. Thus, in 1737, 
John Lynde owned eighteen hundred acres ; Paul Dudley, 
five hundred ; Thomas Steel, five hundred ; Joseph Willard, a 
thousand ; Richard Southgate, seven hundred and seventy ; 
Jonathan Witt, four hundred ; John Clark, four hundred and 
ninety ; George Cradock, three hundred and forty-two ; Jonas 



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IIISTOIIY OF Ll':ttESTER. D i 

Clark, five hundred; &e. Five of the above nine were non- 
residents of the town. 

The whole Province was suffenng from embarrassments 
incident to the condition of a young State, with a sparse agri 
cultural population in the interior, and a limited and feeble 
trade and commerce oil the seaboard ; while upon such a com- 
munity rested the burdens of frequent wars, from which they 
were not fully relieved till the fall of Quebec in 1759. Various 
schemes were suggested for obtaining relief in the Province, 
which elicited much discussion, and gave rise to strong parti- 
san feelings, that divided the cotmsels of the government 
for many years. I allude to these here because the fruits 
of some of the measures to which they led appear on the 
records of the proceedings of the town. 

The ill-fated expedition against Canada in 1690 created an 
expense of fifty thousand pounds to the Province of Massachu- 
setts; and, to meet this extraordinary demand, the Province 
issued bills of credit, designed to pass as currency, to the 
amount of forty thousand pounds. Another issue, of ten 
thousand pounds, was made in 1702 ; a third, of thirty thou- 
sand pounds, was made in 1709 ; and ten thousand more, 
in 1711 ; which last issue was made in view of a second 
expedition against Canada to dislodge the French. This, like 
the former, was unsuccessful. 

In 1714, three parties grew up in the Province : one in 
favor of returning to a specie currency ; one for establishing 
a land bank, as it was called, — being a private bank ; and the 
third for a system of loaning its own bills by the Province to 
its inhabitants, on interest. The latter project prevailed ; and 
fifty thousand pounds, in bills of the Province, were put into 
the hands of five trustees to loan at five per cent interest. 
Three of these trustees — Judge Davenport, Thomas Hutch- 
inson, and John White — were proprietors of the town of 
Leicester. In 1716, a hundred thousand pounds was issued 
in government bills of credit, and put into the hands of county 



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58 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

trustees, to be loaned on niortgage^ecnrity for ten years at 
five per cent. In 1720, the House voted another issue of a 
hundred thousand pounds ; which, however, was stopped in 
tlie Council : but, the nest year, a loan of fifty thousand 
pounds was granted, to he distributed among the towns in 
proportion to their respective taxes. In 1724, a new loan 
of thirty thousand pounds was issued ; and, though they had 
been received, for taxes and the like, into the treasury, there 
were outstanding, in 1725, over two hundred thousand pounds 
of these bills of credit. But although, for currency, they had 
depreciated to less than half their nominal value, in 1728 a 
new emission was made of sixty thousand pounds. They 
were issued to towns in proportion to their taxes. These were 
authorized to let this substitute for money at six per cent; 
accounting to the Province for four, and paying one to the 
trustees, — thus saving one towards town-charges, Leicester 
had the folly to accept their share of this loan ; and appointed 
trustees to take charge of it, with instructions not to let more 
than ten pounds, nor less than five, in any single loan. 

Up to 1737, the purport of the bills issued had been, that 
they should " be in value equal to money, and be accordingly 
accepted by the treasurer, &c., in all public payments." In 
that year, an emission was made in the usual form ; and 
another, of nine thousand pounds, in a different form, — the 
tenor and effect of which were, that they should " be in value 
equal to three ounces of coined silver, troy weight, of sterling 
alloy i or gold coin, at the rate of £i. 18s. per ounce ; " &c. 
This new emission took the name of " new tenor," the former 
being known as " old tenor ; " and the proportion of value 
between them was fixed at three to one. But the practical 
value, as allowed in business, was four to one: that is, one of 
the new was worth as much as four of the old tenor bills.* 



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HISTORY or LEICESTEii. ,)V 

There is a votej on the records of the town in 1741, to take 
"manufactory bills "for all town-rates, except the minister's 
salary ; and another for receiving " land-hank " bills, and turn- 
ing them into " old money." These bills were issued by a 
private banking company in direct opposition to the govern- 
ment. The stockholders gave security, to the amount of their 
stock, upon real estate, — for which they received these bills, 
intended to pass as currency ; and were to pay three per cent 
interest annually, in -mamtfactures of a specified character, ■ — ■ 
such as hemp, flax, wool, &c., — at such prices as should he fixed 
by the directors. As these bills depended upon public favor 
alone for their currency, many of the towns adopted votes 
similar to that of Leicester in order to sustain them. There 
seems to have grown up a paper-banking mania in Massachu- 
setts about 1740, which no efi'ort of the government could 
repress. It appears that the people of Leicester shared the 
common mania in the Province to engage in the scheme of a 
bank of issue : and I find among its citizens who were held 
responsible as shareholders, and against whom legal process 
was issued in 1744, the names of James Jackson, assessed 
eighty pounds ; Benjamin Johnson, forty pounds ; and Ichabod 
Merritt, Joseph Sbaw, and Josiah Eobinson, the amounts of 
whose assessments are not stated. 

Without taking up any more time upon this subject, — which 
has been introduced by way of explanation, — I may remark, 
that the substitution of such a currency in the Province led 
to the sending abroad of all the gold and silver to pay debts 
and make purchases, where those bills would not pass : and 
the consequence was, they went on depreciating ; so that 
when the Province received from the mother-country, in part 
of the expenses incurred in the Louisburg expedition in 1745, 
£183,649 in gold and silver, it was employed in redeeming 
these bills, at the rate of one specie dollar for forty-five 
shillings old-tenor bills; and, for new tenor, eleven shillings 
and threepence. The amount redeemed was the incredible 



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60 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

sum of £1,792,236. This was in 1750; and all debts con- 
tracted after that were payable in silver at Gs. 8d. per ounce, 
which took the name of " lawful money." The effect of this 
dfipreciafion in the currency was one of the causes of the 
unhappy controversies that grew up between the town and 
their minister (the Eev. Mr. Parsons), which will be spoken 
of more at iengtii hereafter. 

To recur to the subject of schools. I have little more to 
add than what may be found in an able and interesting report 
upon the subject, from the pen of Joseph A. Denny, Esq., 
which I have ventured to add as an Appendix to this work. 

John Lynde, jun., the first schoolmaster, was the son of 
John Lynde of Maiden; was bom in 1710, and removed to 
Leicester with his father. The family were connected with 
the Greens by the marriage of Dr. Thomas with a sister of the 
father. From the son being but twenty-one years old when 
be first kept the school, and his father, though a large land- 
holder, having been a farmer, it is not probable that he coxild 
have had many advantages for an education ; since he proba- 
bly came to Leicester when he was less than ten years old, 
and there had never been a school there which he could have 
attended. He settled and became a substantial citizen in 
Leicester, where he married, and raised up a family. As he 
was, by the vote of the town, a schoolmaster " to reed and 
Wright" merely, the want of a finished education seems not 
to have stood in the way of his being employed as such two 
or three subsequent years. 

Joshua Nichols, the second schoolmaster in order, was em- 
ployed to keep a school in two places, in 1736, for one month 
each; but, for some reason, completed only a single month. He 
was a tailor by trade, and came from Maiden. He married a 
daughter of Capt. Samuel Green, — sister of Dr. Thomas, — 
and probably was in mature life when he removed ; for we 
find him elected an assessor at the first recorded town-meet- 
ing, in 1722. He had a family of six children, the oldest of 



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HISTORY Ol^ LEIC'ESTI'IR. 61 

whom was born in March, 1721. He was employed in many 
town-offices, and appears to have been a man of influence in 
its affairs. 

I do not find that Mr. Cooledge, Mr. Gibbons, or Mr. Bullard, 
— who were early schoolmasters here, — were ever residents 
in town, except to keep the school for shorter or longer 
periods, as stated in the report referred to ; nor have I been 
able to learn any thing of their personal history. 

After these, Pliny Lawton, who will be noticed among the 
physicians of the town, was employed during 1747 and a part 
of 1748. Solomon Parsons, who will be noticed in the same 
connection, was employed in 1751; and Dr. John Honeywood, 
in 1753.* 

There was an organization of the town into school-districts, 
in 1776; which I shaU have occasion to notice in another 
connection, for the purpose of giving the names and resi- 
dences of the fiimilies then dwelling in the town. 

I am able to give ctuite a complete list of the Representa- 

• I h«Te meiianiied the time of Braotion and the locality of tha first sohoolhottaa. 
The second whb built upon the north sida of the Great Road, where tlie brick factory 
Btaiids, formerly of Col. J. D. Sargant. This wss some time bofore 1782. Tha next 
eehoolhouse in the Centre DiBtriot was erected in 1781, and was plnced about six 
rods east of the house of J. A. Smith, Esq., opposite what waa oslled tha Crossmftu 
lioad, where it enters tlia Great Post Eoad. So lonj; ns I attended school tbeie,— 
though it was improved afterwards, — it was the perfection of discomfort, and of ill 
adaptation for its purpose. The outside had originally bean painted with Spanish 
brown, mnoli of which had baen washed off by the weather. The outer door opened 
into an entry that mn sIolr the west side of the house,— wholly unfinished, — in which 
wood waa stored for the fire, and into which the chimney for warming the honse 
projected its bare briclt walls. The house was warmed — so far as such a thing was 
possible — by a huge wood-iire, built in an immense firaphioe! around wliich seme 
of the scholars were always gathered to warm their feet, which gi'ew cold again tlia 
moment they had talien their seals. This kept up a constant circulation between 
the seats and the iire in cold weather. These seats, or henoiiea, were naiTow, and 
intolerably hard; and estended the whole length of the building, witli tha exception of 
passage-ways in the middle and at each end. In tliese oramped-np, crowded pens, the 
pupil wrote, ciphered, and studied, without ever associating any thing but aching limbs 
aud stiffened joints with the acquisition of a schoolboy's knowledge. The condition 
of what were called the "little scholars" was even worse. Thay were ranged around 
tlie open area in front of the fiie, — upon low, narrow seota, the backs of wliich were tha 
fronts of the deslts above them, — with nothing Co lean upon. My boues still ache at 



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62 HISTORY OV LEICESTER. 

tives to the General Court that have been chosen by the 
town. It should be remembered, that, until a late period, 
each town paid its own representaiive. The consequence 
was, that towns often refused to be represented, and were 
occasionally fined by the General Court for the neglect. 
Sometimes a hard and sharp bargain was driven with a 
candidate, to reduce the price at which he was to serve 
them. 

Their first representative (in 1721) was Judge Menzies, who 
will be mentioned hereafter. When, the following year, the 
town voted to pay him for the service, he declined accepting 
compensation ; and they thereupon voted him to be their 
representative for the year 1722. He was again elected, in 
1723; and was paid by a vote of thanks, as he declined any 
pecuniary satisfection. 

The town then voted, that whoever should be chosen the 
year 1724 should be paid the same as Judge Menzies ; and 
Lient. Thomas Newhall was elected to serve " on the con- 
ditions aforesaid," 

The next year (1725), Judge Menzies was again chosen; 
but from that time to 1733 they were not represented. This 
covered the time while the town was subjected to constant 
annoyance and expense in consequence of their difficulties 
with their minister, which may account for their being un- 
willing to incur any additional expense. 

In 1733, Josiah Converse was chosen for a single year. 
He was the son of John Converse, a blacksmith ; and came 
with his father from Woburn. He lived in the westerly part 
of the town, upon a farm which he exchanged with Christopher 
J. Lawton, Esq., in 1735; and removed to Brookfield, where 
he afterwards lived. 

The order in which the town was siibsequently represented 
was as follows : 1736, '40, and '41, by Christopher J. Lnwton 
(who will be noticed hereafter) ; 1745, '46, '47, Daniel Denny ; 
1749, '50, '56, '57, '58, '59, '61, '62, '64, '65, '67, '68, John 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 63 

Brown;* 1752, '53, '54, '55, Thomas Stcol; 1770, '71, '72, '73, 
'74, Thomas Denny; 1774, balance of term; 1775, delegate, 
Joseph Henshaw ; 1775, Hezeldah Ward, delegate ; 1776, 
Seth Washburn; 1777, Seth Washburn and Samuel Green; 
1778, '79, Seth Washburn; 1780, Seth Washburn and William 
Henshaw; 1781, '82, '83, '88, Seth Washburn; 1786, John 
Lyon; 1787, Col. Samuel Denny; 1791, '92, '94, 1800, 1801, 
Thomas Denny; 1796, '98, William Henshaw; 1803, '4, '6, '6, 
'8, '11, '25, '28, '41, Nathaniel P. Denny; 1809, '10, '21, '22, 
'29, John Hobart; 1812, '13, '14, '15, '16, '17, Austin Flint; 
1819-20, John King; 1826, '27, Emory Washburn; 1830, 
Nathaniel P. Denny, Waldo Flint ; 1831 and '32, John Hobart 
and John King; 1833, Waldo Flint and Joshua Murdoch; 
1834, Eeuben Meriam and Joshua Murdoch ; 1835, Silas 
Earle and Cheney Hatch; 1836, Cheney Hatch and Thomas 
Sprague; 1837, Thomas Sprague and Isaac Southgate ; 1838, 
Samuel Watson and Joseph D. Sargent; 1839, Isaac South- 
gate and Samuel Watson; 1840, Isaac Southgate and David 
Henshaw; 1842-43, John Sargent; 1844,'45, John Woodcock; 
1847, Henry A. Denny; 1848-49, Dwight Bisco ; 1850-51, 
Samuel Watson; 1852, Abram Firth; 1855, John D. Cogs- 
well; 1856, Lucius Woodcock; 1857, Hanson L. Reed; 1858, 
Joseph A. Denny; 1860, John D. Cogswell, 

The following persons have been members of the Senate 
of Massachusetts while residents in this town : viz., Seth 
Washburn, 1780 and '81-'84, '85, '86, and '87 ; Nathaniel P. 
Denny, 1823 and '24 ; Waldo Flint, 183&-6. 



• Ospt. Brown ia more than once mentioned in this worli. He hud held a enplaiti's 
commission in the Fi'eiioh Wnr; tooli pnrt in the liikinK of Lonisbnvg, Hnd, at that 
tima, paid a iflrge tivx for iiis property ; represented the town twelve years with great 
ncceptnnoe ; toob: a leading part dnring tbe ReTolutlon, and hnd three sons in the »ec- 
Tioe. It ia painful, therefore, to read tlie record of a meetinf; of the town, enlled 
in 1778 to sea if they would redeem a certain mortgage, in order to " indemnify them- 
selves from the maintenance of Ciipt. John Brown." He was then eiglity-five years 
old. His wife whs the nnnt of Hon. John CofSn Jones: but pi-oliably, lilie many of 
his contempornrjes, he had devoted heait nnd hiiiid to win a nation's independence 



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64: inSTOltY OF LEICESTER. 

The delegates from the town to tlie Convention which 
formed the Constitution in 1779 were Seth Washburn and 
William Henshaw. Col, Samuel Denny was their delegate to 
the Convention that met to consider the question of adopting 
the Constitution of the United States, in January, 1788. Col. 
Henry Sargent was their delegate to the Convention which 
met in 1821 for revising the State Constitution; and Hiram 
Knight, Esq., of that for its second revision, in 1853. 

As the proprietors' half of the town was much more slowly 
settled than the eastern half, though they continued to form 
one corporation, great complaint was made that the settlers' 
half enjoyed more than a fair share of the offices, while a full 
proportion of burdens fell upon the western half. 

But, though the majority appear not to have hesitated 
in exercising their legal powers, there does not seem to 
have been any disposition to retain this power; for, in 
1741, the town voted to consent to the westerly half being 
set off into a new town. A petition was accordingly pre- 
sented to the General Court, who passed a Bill to that 
effect; but the Governor (Shirley) refused his assent to the 
Bill, and the measure failed. It was renewed in 17i4, and 
resulted in the incorporation of the westei-n half into a 
2>recinct. 

There still remained sources of difference between the two 
parts ; one of which was a complaint on the western part, 
that the town would not lay out roads for the accommodation 
of the people residing there. The eastern half answered, 
that, when the lands in that part of the town were laid out, 
sufficient of these had been appropriated for roads; whereas 
no such reserve had been made by the proprietors of the 
other half when it was divided among them. The matter 
came before the Legislature in 1749, and a new Act, incor- 
porating the western half, was passed; but was again vetoed 
by Lieut.-Gov, Spencer Phipps, because the effect of it would 
be to increase the number of representatives in the General 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. D.T 

Court. Nor was the separation effected between the two 
parts of the town until 1753, when an Act was passed, creat- 
ing the second precinct into a district ; which was, in effect, 
a town to all intents, except having the privilege of sending 
a representative to the General Court, for which purpose it 
still remained united with Leicester. 

Bnt the attempts to dismember the town did not meet 
with the same fevor, when, in 1743, a petition was presented 
by several to have a town set off from "Worcester and Leices- 
ter, substantially as Ward (now Auburn) subsequently was; 
and another, to set off a part of the town to Rutland as a 
precinct. The town voted to oppose these, and were succesa- 
fui in so doing. 

In 1761, an attempt was made to have a new town — Paxton 
■ — created out of the north part of Leicester, and the soutli 
part of Rutland, upon the petition of John Smith ; and the 
same thing was moved again the following year, upon tlie peti- 
tion of Oliver Witt. Both of these petitions were resisted 
by Leicester, and, for a while, with success. But, the follow- 
ing year, the town favored the movement : and it resulted in 
the incorporation of Paxton in 1765, 

Ward (afterwards called Auburn) was incorporated as a 
town in 1778. 

A vote of the town in 1754 is not vory intelligible without 
some explanation ; for which I avail myself of the first 
volume of the Collections of the American Statistical Asso- 
ciation, prepared by Mr. Felt. The vote was " unanimously 
to disapprove of the Excise Bill passed hy the Assembly at 
their last sitting." 

The taxes at this time had become heavy ; and the House 
were desirous of relieving, as far as they could, the polls and 
estates from this burden ; and, to do this, contrived a plan for 
laying an excise upon wines and spirituous liquors consumed 
by the people. The Council refused to approve of it. Gov. 
Shirley sent for the House into the Council Chamber, and 



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fit) HISTORY OF LKICESTER. 

there stated hie objection to the measure, that it wonld be 
inconsistent with the natural rights of every private family 
to be subjected to keep and render an account of the quan- 
tity of excise liquors which they consumed in tlieir private 



The House immediately ordered the objectionable part of 
the Bill to be printed, and sent to every town for considera- 
tion ; which led to the above vote of this town. The towns 
voted, — some, that it was contrary to their liberties; and 
some, that it was not. The measure, however, was dropped 
for a short time ; but passed, with some amendments, in 
December, 1754. 

Out of this grew a memorable pamphlet, styled " The Mon- 
ster of Monsters," attacliing the Bill and the House. The 
latter voted it a scandalous libel, and imprisoned the pub- 
lisher, after having ordered the pamphlet to be burned by 
the common hangman. For this imprisonment, the speaker, 
the messenger of the House, and the jailer, were sued ; 
and the Province employed Edmund Trowbridge, James Otis, 
and Jeremy Gridley,^ — -three of the best and most learned 
lawyers in the country, — to defend them ; and the suit 
resulted in the acquittal of the parties charged. 

The prices which certain things bear at different periods 
are a subject of curious and interesting inquiry, as serving 
to test the comparative value of the circulating medium 
in eases where the relation of supply and demand shall be 
the same. Laws have, for this purpose, been passed at times, 
fixing arbitrary prices to labor, wheat, corn, wool, and the 
lilie ; as if legislation were as strong as the imperative laws 
of trade. But still they may serve as an approxunate test of 
the value of the common medium of exchange, — whether 
gold and silver, or issues of paper promises ; and, at the same 
time, the comparative value of the same things at different 
periods of time. A few only of these, however, can I give ; 
and, such as they are, they may not be very satisfactory. 



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HISTORY OF LEICKSTER. 67 

In 1726, four shillings per day were allowed for work on 
the garrison. 

In 1733, the pay of the schoolmaster was four pounds ten 
shilhngs per month. This was in a depreciated currency ; 
and, in 1737, the price was six pounds per month: which, at 
the rate of calculation between new and old tenor money, 
would be, in the former year, about twenty shilling — 
nominally three dollars and a third — per month, though con- 
siderably less, in fact, in silver money. 

In 1720, the town paid Mr. Parsons, their minister, seventy- 
five pounds per annum, salary. In 1736, they were to pay 
Mr. Goddard three hundred pounds, with one hundred pounds 
settlement ; which was but about the same as that paid Mr, 
Parsons, allowing for depreciation, if the salary of the latter 
was calculated upon money at par. In 1753, they fixed the 
salary of Mr. Roberts at .£133. 6s. 3d., silver money, at 6s. 8d. 
per ounce ; whereas, when Mr. Goddard was settled, silver 
was worth 27s. 6d. per ounce, and had risen, at tlie time of his 
death, to 60s., — or, what is the same, the paper currency had 
depreciated in that time more than a hundred per cent. Mr. 
Conblin's salary, in 1763, was fixed at the same as that of 
Mr. Roberts ten years before. Dr. Moore's salary, in 1797, 
was fixed at four hundred dollars. But, to show, somewhat, 
the rate of depreciation in the paper money in the mean time, 
the town added, in 1779, five hundred pounds to Mr. Conklin's 
salary for a single year ; which was, in fact, but a hundred 
dollars in value. 

In 1779, a convention of delegates from the towna met at 
Concord, — of which Mr. Henry King was a member from 
Leicester, — for fixing the prices which might be charged for 
the common necessaries of life. Among these were corn, £3, 
12s. per bushel; laborinhusbandry, ^2. lis. per day; beef, per 
pound, 2s. 6d. ; wool, ^£1. 4s. ; and men's shoes, JG6 per pair.* 

* Iq ITJT, MnasnchuHetts passed what wa 



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68 HISTORY or L£lCV,K'n;i!. 

I have before me a bill for time and expense of an officer 
"in getting along the six-months' men" in 1780 ; and among 
the items are seventy dollars for an advertisement in the 
Worcester paper, and thirty dollars for too dinners. 

In 1776, the town allowed their delegate to the Provincial 
Congress five shillings per day ; and the same price was paid 
to their representative in 1786.* 

But I forbear entering into further detail npou this part of 
onr subject, and pass to other topics. 

In 1793, a Social Library was formed in town ; and its pro- 
prietors held their first meeting, Dec. 10 of that year, at the 
house of Dr. Austin Flint. The number of volumes in this 
library, however, has never done justice to the character of 
the town as a reading people. 

In 1812, the members of the Fire-eugine Company, then 
recently formed, commenced a new library with much spirit, 
and for a while with good success ; but it was soon after 
merged in the old organization. 

In 1829, another library was commenced, consisting of more 
modern works. For many yeara it was used by its proprie- 
tors; but, in 1858, it was, like the former one, merged in the 

3(1. and 43. per poand; whaat, Ts. ad. per busliel; cotton, 35, per pound by the bflft,— 
S''. 8d. per single pound, — at the port where tirat lunded from tlie Weit IttMei; Kngliah 
h«7, 65. per hnndred weight; West-India rum, 6s. ed. per gidlon hy the hogshead,— 
73, 8d, single gnlion; wool, 2a. per pound. The scale of depreciation in 1778 wa5 
based upon assuming the prices of some of theee nrades as the par, upon which the 
depi'Bciation aliould be onlculnted. 

• I hare jnemoranda of the travelling expenses of the member of the convention 
in 1779 from Leicester, and of the repreaaotative from that town in 17B8; which I 
give for sereral pnipoaes; first, to show tlie nominal value of money at theae times; 
secondly, the mode of performing the joumeji and, thirdly, the habits of the moat 
temperate men of that day. 

" Set out for Cambridge to the convantior, Oct. 27, 1779. An account of what I 
spent! To oils, 68,; to dinner, IBs.; to flip, 9s.; to snpper and lodging and horeekeep- 
iiig,^l. 10a.; to breaklnst, 12s. ; to shaving, Cs. ; to flip, 93. j paidboardl5days,i*6,4s." 

The piiy per day of the repreaentntive in 1788 was four shillings, ■' Mny 37, 1T88, 
Ret ont from Leicester to Boston to Court, Got down by six o'clock that day. Spent 
a-going down! To sling in the morning, 6d.; to lialf a bowl of toddy, 6d.; to a mess 
of oata, 4d.; to dinner. Is.; to bating my horse, idi; to toddy, 6d.; to oats, id.; to 
grag,-'!d." 



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tllSTORY 01)' LEICESTER. 69 

original Social Library. The latter now contains about nine 
hundred volumes. 

I should be ghid to speak iu this connection, if I had proper 
data, of a Literary Association, which was organized, and pur- 
sued its purposes for many years with admirable spirit and 
brilliant success, among the younger ladies of the town. It 
had its origin some fifty years since. It was what it professed 
to be, — a literary association ; holding meetings at regular 
brief intervals, in which the amenities of kindly social inter- 
course were united with the fruits of a refined taste and a 
cultivated intellect; and tradition has done no more than 
justice to the high rank to which, in its day, it helped to 
elevate the female society of the town. The records of the 
Association have shared the fete of the many bright thoughts 
and sage reflections to which its social hours gave utterance ; 
and both are irrecoverably lost. History can only now record 
the fact that it once existed, flourished many years, and dis- 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



CHAPTER IV. 
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTOEY. 

MEE'nNG-HOUSE. — MK. PARSONS. — MB. GODDABD. — MK. KOBEETS.— 
ME. CONICHN. — ME. MOOEE. — MR. NELSON. — MR. DENISON. — ME. 
COOLEDGE. — SECOND MEETING-HOUSE. — SACRED MUSIC. — BAP- 
TISTS.— QUAKEES. — METHODISTS. — UNITARIAS SOCIETY. — JEWS.— 
CATHOLICS. 

Theee are no records preserved of the early condition of tlie 
church connected with the Congregational Society, or First 
Parish, in Leicester ; and it is, therefore, impossible to fix the 
precise period of its organization. From the known custom, 
however, which so generally prevailed in settling and incor- 
porating towns in Massachusetts at that period, we may safely 
assume that a church was organized aB early, at least, as the 
town itself. Every town, in fact, constituted a parish, though 
it managed its parochial affairs by means of its municipal 
organization ; so that, as soon as a church had been gathered 
agreeably to the usages of the early New-England churches, 
the town was ready to call and settle a minister, if of ability 
to afford him the necessary support. Although, as has been 
stated, the first recorded meeting of the town was held on the 
6th (17th) of March, 1722, a church, as well as the town, had 
been organized some time previous to that date. 

A meeting-house had been erected, such as it was, in 1719 ; 
and was undoubtedly done by the town, — for its records 
after that time show, that it was a frequent subject of action 
on the part of the town. From the accounts which are 
gathered, chiefly from records, but partly from personal nar- 
ration of living witnesses, the house must have been of the 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 71 

most primitive, plain, and cheap character imaginable. It 
stood nearly in front of the present one, and close to the Great 
Eoad. It had three outside doors, one iipon the front and one 
at each end of the house, but no door-steps. It had neither 
porch nor belfry on the outside, nor pews nor gallery in the 
inside. What pews it ever had, were built by individuals, 
to whom the town sold " pew-ground " from time to time ; 
and it was not till several years after the erection of the 
house, that all these " pew-grounds " were disposed of.* It 
had small windows, made of diamond-shaped glass ; and these 
swung upon hinges, instead of the modern mode of sliding 
sashes. The outside was clapboarded, but was never painted. 
The finishing of the interior consisted of being " sealed " with 
boards, from the floor to what was called, in the votes of the 
town, " the great girt " of the house. But it is pretty certain 
that the ceiling over the body of the house was never com- 
pleted ; so that it is not difficult to conceive, that going to 
meeting upon a sharp winter's day, in those times of long 
seiTOons, before stoves had been invented, was a pretty 
serious operation. 

The general style of the work in the interior of the house 
may be judged of by the sum which was paid, in 1725, to 

Jonathan Watson "for building the deacon's pew," which 

by the way, had never been built before. This sum was 
twelve shillings. A considerable proportion of the interior 
of the house was appropriated to " body " seats, or seats 
which were public. Those west of the centre line of the 
house were occupied by the men ; those upon the east side, 
by the women. 

The name of the architect of this singular temple, whose 
order of architecture history has not preserved, was, there is 
reason to believe, Capt. Eleazer Howe. He at least furnished 



IS 1743, oHiy fourteen pews hsd 



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72 HISTOHY OF LEICKBTER. 

the fi-ame, aa appears by a vote in 1725, " that Capt. Wiiiiam 
Wood be allowed the sum of two pounds one shilling and ten- 
pence; being in full of all Capt. Eleazer Howe's account for 
the Meeting-house frame."* The bill for the underpinning 
of the house amounted to four pounds twelve shiilinga. 

In 1725, the town began to take measures for the erection 
of galleries in the house. Nothing was accomplished then 
upon the subject, and it came up again for discussion in 1728. 
But it does not appear when they were builtf The access 
to these galleries was by means of stairs within the body 
of the house, leading to them at the south-east and south-west 
comers of the same ; and we may judge of the dimensions of 
the whole structure from the fact that there was only space 
enough for one pew, between the door at the west end and 
the stairs that led into the gallery. This pew at one time 
belonged to Christopher J. Lawton, Esq. ; and I learn the facts 
I have above stated, as to the size of the church, from the 
records of a lawsuit which grew out of a controversy, between 
him and Joshua Nichols, in regard to the ownership of that 
pew. 

The house continued in this condition until 1741: it had 
never been finished, and by that time needed to he newly 
covered. The town, that year, accordingly levied a tax of a 
hundred and fifty pounds for the purpose of finishing and 
covering the Meeting-house. As this was undoubtedly "old- 
tenor " money, which was not worth more than one-quarter as 
much as gold or silver, the amount probably did not exceed a 
hundred dollars of our decimal currency. 

The galleries, hke the body of the house, were provided 



• Besides, tha records show thnt Ciipt. Howe was absolved from the forfoitnre of ft 
certain lot of Inn d from not liRsing settled upon it by a tertnin day in 1719; it having 
been " by rensoii the said Howe was building tlie meoting-house." 

■f A vote was mJoptfld, in lJ28, " to buy 
build our part." At tJie same time, eertaii 
upon tbe town's Isnd. 



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HISTORY OF ht:rCESTER. 73 

with seats ; tlie eastern side of the dividing-line of the house 
being occupied by the women, and the western side by the 
men : the one sex making use of one pair of the stairs ; the 
other, of the other pair. In 1741, it was proposed to erect 
one or more pews in the front gallery: and it was accordingly 
voted, " that Noah Jones, Israel Parsons, Thomas Eichardson, 
jnn., James Lawton, jun., and Nathan Sargent [who, in the 
warrant calling the meeting, had been called ' sume young 
men'], have, and it is hereby granted to them, liberty to 
build a pew in the hind-seats on the women's side in the 
front-gallery; and that tliey, and each of them, shall take it 
for their seat in the Meeting-house." Peter Silvester, jun., 
Benjamin Wheaton, Joshua Silvester, Benjamin Gilson, and 
William Green, jun., had a like permission to build a pew in 
the hind-seats on the men's side in the front-gallery. 

It will be bome in mind, that this was many years before 
any part of the house had been assigned for the singers. We 
shall see, as we proceed, that what served as singing was of 
a congregational character at that time. 

There seems to have been little done in the way of repair- 
ing the house until 1743, though the subject was frequently 
agitated. In that year, it was voted " to make an addition to 
the back-side of the Meeting-house, twelve feet the whole 
length of said Meeting-house," and " to have a new ruff upon 
the Meeting-house." It was also voted "to move the pulpit to 
the back-side of the Meeting-house ; that the body of the 
Meeting-house be repaired with the old clapboards that come 
off the back-side of the Meeting-house ; and also to have steps 
at the door of the Meeting-house:" leaving the back-side, 
probably, without clapboards. It was also voted " that the in- 
side of the Meeting-house be moled all around, up to the 
plates, with good white-pine boards ; " and a hundred pounds, 
old tenor, was granted towards finishing the house. The 
difficulty, if not impossibility, of procuring lime at that time, 
was doubtless the reason for making use of the stylo of inside 



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LEICESTER. 



finish which it was voted to adopt. TJie town still continued 
to sell " pew-grounds " for the erection of new pews, and fixed 
the prices to be paid for the same; the highest being twelve 
pounds, old tenor, — something less than ten dollars of our 
currency. 

In 1754, the town voted to put up a " sounding-board " over 
the pulpit. It must have been, however, because a meeting- 
house, at that day, was not deemed complete without this 
appendage, — or because, as I suppose was the case, the inte- 
rior was open to the rafters of the roof, — that the town 
incurred the charge of such a structure in a house of no larger 
dimensions ; and the impressions we thus derive from the 
records of the town, as to the character of this house, were 
more than confirmed by the statements of one who had been 
familiar with it in childhood. 

The contemplated enlargement was made ; but most of the 
principal upright timbers which had supported the north 
side of the house remained standing and exposed to view in 
its new arrangement, and formed striking objects of notice, if 
they did not add to the architectural symmetry of the design.* 
Uough, uncouth, and uncomfortable as this structure must 
have been, it was the only meeting-house belonging to the 
town until 1784, when the present one was erected. 

It was, moreover, the scene of gatherings and discussions 
of the deepest local interest ; and, in later days, of high-toned 
eloquence and patriotism, that would have honored a nobler 
temple and a wider sphere. 

It was here that the people met to elect and settle their 
first minister; it was here that they came together so often 
afterwards to adopt measures to rid themselves of their 
" bondage " to him ; and it was here that the fickle tide of 
favor ebbed and rose in the popular mind towards one who 



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LEICESTER. 



stood towards them at one time aa the pastor of a Chi-istian 
flock ; and, at another, as the bitter and vindictive adversary, 
who again and again put at nought the instructions of the 
apostle, as to going to law witli his own church and his own 
people. 

The man selected by this church and people for their first 
minister was the Eev. David Parsons. He then belonged to 
Maiden, and had been settled there as a minister for twelve 
years. He was brother of Eev. Joseph Parsons, who had 
been a considerable landholder in Leicester ; and he had him- 
self become a proprietor of the town.* His attention had 
thus been directed towards it ; and his interest in its people 
had been excited by the removal of several families from 
Maiden, and their settling in the town. A difficulty, moreover, 
had grown up between him and the society over which he 
was settled; and when, therefore, by the recommendation 
probably of his former townsmen, he was invited to settle 
over the church and people of Leicester, he readily accepted 
the call. 

For the history of his connection with the society, I pro- 
pose to confine myself almost exclusively to the recorded 
proceedings of the town. I shall, in that way, be in less 
danger of doing injustice to his memory, than by depending 
upon traditions in respect to the unhappy controversies which 



* Josapl! ana David wcra the gi'andaons of Joseph, the first of the iinme in tl:o 
country. Ha was in Sprinfifleld in 1636, and removed to Northampton in 16S6, where 
the Joseph here referred to was born in 1671. Ha was graduated at Harvard, 1697; and 
was probably brought into connection with the Leicester propriotors by marrying 
Elizabatli Thompeon of Eoxbury. He was settled us a miniatar in Lebanon, Conn.; 
bnt left bis parish before 1714, and removed to Boston, where he engnsred extensively 
in land specnlstione, was a grantee of Rutland, nnd pncbasad BiohanJ Draper's shaie 
in Leicester. He was one of the grantees in the settlern' half of the town, as pro- 
priBtof of lot No. 23. He was the owner of several other lots, on one of whioli he 
caused a KriBtmJll to be erected, — tha first built in town, — upon the ontlet of Town- 
maadow Brook. He never resided in Leicester. About 1718, be was agiun settled as 
a miniater in Salisbury, Mass., where he remained till his death, in 173B, at tbe age of 
sisty-nine. His son of the same name was the minister of North Brookfiald.— ffiai. 
C'eaeal Reyislsi: 



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76 



imbittered the relation between them. These controrersieB 
were chiefly of a personal character, and do not seem to 
have partaken in the least of differences in religions opinions, 
in imputations upon his moral character, his ability as a 
preacher, or of the strife of political party. It would be 
singular if there were not faults on both sides. 

At the time of his removal to Leicester, he was about forty 
years of age. He came there under the most flattering 
auspices ; and there seems to have been no misgiving upon 
the part of the people in settling him, as was the usual mode 
at that time, for life. 

The first vote on the subject is recorded upon the first 
page of the town-records, in choosing a Committee " to lay 
out tlio vacant land, lying northerly from Mr. Carey's, to Mr. 
Parsons, if he settles among ua." This land was upon the 
North Road, leading over Carey Hill, and north of that hill, 
next to land laid out to Arthur Carey ; and was afterwards 
the ministerial land of the town. 

There had been, as the vote implies, a previous action ou 
the part of the town upon the subject of settling Mr. Parsons ; 
and in the History of Spencer, by Mr. Draper, we find the 
copies of two letters addressed to Mr. Parsons, which contain 
a statement of the votes which had been adopted at a meet- 
ing of the town, Nov. 28, 1720, about three months prior to 
the vote above mentioned. It had been then " voted that the 
Eev. David Parsons be our gospel minister ; tliat Mr. Parsons 
have the forty-acre lot next the Meeting-house, and the right, 
in CLuantity and quality, as other forty-acre lots drawn in after 
division ; that Mr. Parsons have sixty pounds' settlement ; that 
Mr. Parsons have sixty pounds' salary." 

The second of these letters was addressed to him two days 
after the passage of the above votes by six of the principal 
men of the town, — Thomas Newhall, William Brown, James 
Southgate, Balf Earle, Daniel Denny, and Nathaniel Eicliard- 
son, — and contrasts singidarly with the sentiments which, at 



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HISTORY OF LEICliSTKR. (7 

a later period, were entertained towards him by some of these 
men, and the people of the town generally. 

" Rev. Sir, — We, with our heart anci consent, do call and invite 
you to be our settled minister in the work of the gospel amongst us, if 
you see cause to accept, and see your way clear to remove. But, alas ! 
if we reflect back upon ourselves, we cannot hut see we are unwortliy 
of so great a blessing. But, if j'ou have such a blessing fo bestow on 
LIS as we hope you will be, we desire for ever to praise His name for 
his goodness to us ward." 

This " blessing " was " bestowed " upon the town. Let its 
own records tell how they enjoyed it. In 1732, this same 
Ralf Earle stands at the head of the list recorded as " of 
the persuasion of those commonly called Quakers." 

Mr. Parsons replied to the call of the town ; but his letter, 
though it encouraged the hope that he might be induced to 
accept, sxiggested such difficulties in the way, that thirty 
individuals of the town addressed him a letter, in January, 
1721, wherein they engaged to add forty pounds to his settle- 
ment, and fifteen pounds a year to his salary ; and conclude 
their appeal to him by saying, " We do humbly beg a brief 
and speedy rehef under the difficulties which we have labored 
under a long time." This seems to have overcome any remain- 
ing scruples in Mr. Parsons's mind ; for a meeting was had, 
upon the 30th of March following, " to come to an agreement 
with the Rev. Mr. David Parsons as to his settling in the work 
of the ministry among us, having formerly had a call to it." 

Mr. Parsons, it appears, wsk then in waiting at the public- 
house kept by Nathaniel Eichardson, which stood where 
Capt. Hiram Knight's house now stands. The meeting was, 
accordingly, adjourned from the Meeting-house to that place, 
" to discuss and agree with Mr. Parsons." — " It was proposed, 
whether the town be of the mind now to come to an agree- 
ment with the Rev. Mr. Parsons, you having formerly voted 
him to be your minister. It passed in the affirmative." — "Mr. 
Parsons being called in, it was desired that he would show 



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78 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

how far his way was clear to leave Maiden ; upon which he 
prodaced and read the judgment of a couucil of clerlis favor- 
ing his remove." — " It was proposed to Mr. Parsons, whether 
he was ready to give his answer. Mr. Parsons did then show 
his resolution, God assisting in giving opportunity, to serve 
the town in the work of the ministry here at Leicester." 
The town then proceeded to vote htm the proposed forty-acre 
lot " behind the Meeting-house," seventy-iive pounds' salary, 
and a hundred pounds " gratis," and to be at the expense of 
removing his family and goods to Leicester. Every thing 
seems to have passed harmoniously, and in the most hopeful 
and contented spirit. 

Soon after this, at Mr. Parsons's request, the town changed 
the direction of the road leading north from the Meeting-honse, 
— which at iirst lay through the middle of his lot, — so as to 
run along the west end of it, where it now is. This lot he 
continued to own till just hefore his death ; and, hj his own 
direction, he was buried near the middle of it. His house 
stcod upon the south-east part of it. 

But the town was poor, a considerable portion of the land 
belonged to people residing abroad, and it was no easy matter 
to provide for its current espenses. They apphed to the 
General Court to abate their share of the county-tax; and 
every thing in their history, at that time, goes to show that 
they found great difficulty in keeping up their town-organiza- 
tion and meeting their engagements. It is not to be wondered 
at, therefore, that they suffered their minister's salary, at 
times, to be in arrear.* In 1726, it had been i 



* To show that Mr. Parsone himself so understood the delays on the part of the 
town in tha payment of his sftlary, I tmnscribe a petition of his to tlie Legialatara, 
which is foand in the pi'int«d journal of its proceedings under date of Dec. 7, 1726 ; — 

"A petition of Mr. Bsvid Parsons of Leicester, in behalf of himself and family, 
showing that, by reason of the present Indian war, the said town of Leicester is reduced 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 79 

two years in arrear ; and they then proposed to give him a 
bond for his salary for the year 1724. Among the extraordi- 
nary expenses which they had been obliged to incur for his 
protection and their own, was to erect a " garrison " around 
his and some other hoiises, to guard against the threatened 
attack of the Indians upon the town. 

But the salary did not come. Hard feelings, and doubtless 
hard words, ere long ensued between the parties ; and in 
January, 1727, the town had a meeting "to see if the town 
will raise Mr. Parsons's salary, or otherwise to see if they will 
be willing that he should remove out of this town," It was 
voted, " that the town be willing that Mr- Parsons should 
remove and remain out of this town."* But Siubad, in the 
story, might as well have attempted to rid himself of the Old 
Man of the Sea by a vote, as the people of Leicester to free 
themselves from the burden they had assumed, by a hint like 
this. Mr. Parsons had no idea of quitting either the town or 
the ministry, or even relaxing his claim upon them for the 
means of continuing both. 

He accordingly memorialized the Legislature upon the sub- 
ject, though it is not easy to see what they could do in the 
matter. The town, on their part, in 1727, voted to raise hia 
salary ; appointed a Committee to answer his memorial ; and 
apphed, themselves, to the General Court for authority to 
assess a tax of a penny an acre upon all the lands in the 

public trensuvy, as to tlieii- wise oompasaion siiall neeiii meet foi- the reasons therein 
mentioned." 

All nllowanee of ten ponntts waa made ont of tlie pnblio treasury to the petitioner, 
" the better to enisle him to OHiry on the work of the ministry, and snpport Ills tamily, 
in Leicester." 

• This WHS in consaquenee of a new memorial of Mr. Parsons to the Legislature, ~ 
pcesentsd Deo. 2, 1726, — praying that tlie money heretofore raised for the ministry 
there might be applied for the use for which it was granted, and that he might hare 
present support granteil. The town wna noHiied to show causa why the money granted 
had not been piUd. A hearing was hod before a Oomraitteei who reported, in June, 
1727, that there was a snm in arrear from the town to Mr. Parsons, but that he hnd 
a Bpffioient remedy for tliat by law; and recommended that the petition should be 



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80 HISTOR"Y OF J,KiCES'l'EK. 

eastern part of the town, divided and undivided, towards 
defraying tlie town's charges. They proposed, moreover, 
to Mr. Parsons, by way of settlement, to pay one-half his 
arrearages {thirty-seven pounds ten shillings) in two months, 
and the other half in four. Of these arrears, forty pounds 
were for the years 1724 and 1725; and they proposed to 
prosecute the collector for his neglect in not having collected 
the tax of 1726. 

Nothing, however, seems to have come of Mr, Parsons's 
memorial, or this offer of compromise ; and the next step was 
a complaint to the Quarter Sessions by Mr. Parsons against 
the town for neglecting his support. It was attended with the 
ordinary fruits of most lawsuits, — ill blood and retaliatory 
measures. The town met in January, 1729, to see if they 
would any longer continue to support Mr, Parsons in the 
work of the ministry in the town ; and, if not, " then to see if 
the town will coQCur with the church in deposing Mr. Parsons 
from the ministry in this place ; and to see what steps and 
method the town will take for the upholding, supporting, 
and the orderly and peaceaMe dispensation, of the gospel 
ministry in this place." They thereupon voted not to support 
him any longer, and that they would concur with the church 
in deposing him ; and they voted to take measures to supply 
the pulpit. But Mr. Parsons does not seem to have been any 
more moved by their vote not to support him, than he had 
been by so long a practical neglect to supply him the means ; 
and he seems, moreover, to have been ono of tliose spirits 
which it is not easy to lay. This vote to depose him pro- 
duced no effect. 

They next tried more peaceable and persuasive measures ; 
and, in March of that year, met "to see what steps they 
should take to settle and make up with Mr. Parsons." But he 
would neither he deposed, settled with, nor " made up with," 
by them ; hut, instead of that, brought a civil action for the 
recovery of his salary, and attached the property of Lieut. 



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HlSTOItY or LEICESTEK. 81 

Newhall (whose name stood first upon the letter above quoted, 
asking for " so great a blessing " ) to respond the judgment he 
should recover. This was followed by a second complaint 
(in 1730) against the town to the Quarter Sessions. 

The town, at last, grew nearly desperate. They met in 
February, 1731, "to see if the town will take into their further 
consideration the complaints of Mr. [the Reo. is carefully 
omitted] David Parsons, exhibited to the Quarter Sessions, 
against this town ; who and which have caused a great deal 
of disturbances, and have been greatly prejudicial to the 
peace of this town, and very hurtful both to the civil and 
religious interests thereof." Nothing seemed to be left for 
them to do but to appeal for relief to the General Court, 
"under the difficult circumstances which we labor under at 
this time."* 

One source of embarrassment, however, grew out of a 
schism that was growing up in the town itself. No quarrel, 
iu which considerable numbers are concerned, can be carried 
on, any great length of time, all on one side. A part of the 
inhabitants took sides with the minister: and, that it might 
appear how they stood numerically upon the subject, it was 
voted that a list should be prepared in two columns, to be sub- 



• In Unrch, 1751, tbey nccordingly petitioned the Legblnfiire; aiid Mr. Parsons 
msde an a lawei TLe Council voted, in Jnne, to dismiBB the petition ; bnt tlie Honsa 
voted to bear tiie parties; and a hearing wns aooordinglj had before that body, and 
tlie ooneideration of the petition postponed. At a. aubseqnent time, they lieord tha 
pnrtie" »p\m upon the same subject, and then referred the mntter to a Comniitlee 
of which Mr. Lyiide (nftevwflrds Chief-JustJoB Lynde) whs obairman. On the 33d Jnne, 
1731, the Committee reported a resolve; upon wbioh the House adopted a vote with a 
long preamble, reoiti[i({ that difBcultiea had arisen of long standing, and had " proceeded 
to such a degi-ee as greatly to pr^judlee the interest of religion, and ditiwte the ends 
of the gospel miniBlry," &c.; and that application hadheen made in the name of the 
town, and of a jtreat nnmber — if not a mB,ior part — of tiie brethren of the church, for 
relief. The vote provided for perraittinf; any who conscientiously dissented from Mr. 
ParaonB's minisiiy, respeoHng points either of doctrine or diseipiiue, to Bigahy tha 
same to Joseph Wilder, Esq,,* and be exempt from tiixalion on his account when they 
should have provided an orthodox minister, or diligently attended public worship in 
nDigliboringtowns.-eavlngMr.Parsons'srigbtto two hundred acres of land; &c. 



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82 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

scribed by all the inhabitants, — indicating whether they were 
for or against "his continuing in the work of the ministry,"— 
" to be laid before his excellency, to inform him how many 
in this town is for Mr. Parsons's continuing in the work of the 
ministry, and how many against it ; " and Daniel Denny and 
Samuel Green were to be despatched to the Governor for that 
purpose. The subscription-paper was begun upon the spot : 
and, as the record shows, " after all persons that signed against 
Mr, Parsons, the moderator made proclamation to desire any 
person, that had been persuaded to sign to the subscription 
contrary to their judgment and conscience, if any there were, 
to come and take their names out again; but they refused, 
for they said they had acted conscientiously in the matter." 

But the fates were singularly against the town in their 
struggle to escape from the persevering pursuit of their un- 
compromising pastor. The General Court passed a resolution 
relieving them from any longer supporting Mr, Parsons ; but 
the Governor refused to approve it, and a Committee of the 
town wag appointed to address him upon the subject. But it 
was nothing new for Gov. Eelober to differ from the popular 
branch of the Legislature, and Mr. Parsons probably felt 
himself safe beneath the shelter of prerogative. 

These events took place in 1731 ; and Mr, Parsons had, in 
the mean time, obtamed a judgment against the town upon 
his complaint before the Quarter Sessions ; but the town, 
instead of submitting, held a meeting to consider whether 
they should apply to the General Court to allow them to 
appeal from this judgment, " that so the town may havo the 
privilege of a trial in the common law,"* 

The Court of Quarter Sessions was one having criminal ju- 
risdiction, held by all the justices of the peace in the several 
counties, — every second man not being then a justice ; and 
trials took place before a jury, with a right of ajjpeal to a 

' nrapei-'a History, p. SI. 



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lirSTORV OF LEICESTER. 83 

higher court. It had also civil powers, — such as laying out 
highways and taking charge of the financial matters of the 
county ; wherein it did not act as a common-law court. By 
the law as it then existed, if a town neglected to support their 
minister, he might apply, by complaint, to this court, who 
had authority to provide an effectual remedy, and impose a 
fine upon the selectmen for this neglect ; and there was no 
provision for any appeal, or trial by jury, in such a case.* 

The General Court, however, had been prorogued before 
the petition of the town reached them. But another meeting 
was held by the town, in December of the same year, " to see 
if the town would put in a memorial to the General Court for 
to revive a petition which the town had put in, in hope of 
being relieved from Mr. Farsons's bondage ; or to see if the 
town would proceed in any other way to put an end to 
the differences which we are under in ail our affairs." I 

By one of those sudden revolutions in public sentiment so . 
common under democracies, whether small or large, — where 
the man most berated to-day becomes the idol of to-morrow, 
and vice versd, without, quite as often as with, cause, — the 
whole tone of the votes of the town was changed. They voted 
" not to send a memorial to revive said petition ; " " that the 
former vote concerning Mr. Farsons's salary be reconsidered;" 
" that the former vote concerning Mr. Farsons's not being 
paid should be null and void," and " that the vote passed 
Jan. 21, 1728-9, that the town would no longer support Mr. 
Parsons in the work of the ministry, be null and void ; " that 



• Ancient Cimi-ters, 


, p. 256. 






t Thia petition was 


presented 2eth.lDly,m- 


I. Itwasinthanameoftheselectmen, 


asking the Legialatuve 


: to expli 


lin the Act as 


to auppovting ministers; und that the 






a jniigment obtained by the Rev. Mr. 


Pr,n» ga- t Ui n 


th tt! 


V fcht 'h 


1 iring and trial de noiw in a process 


t mam law any j b 


h hth 


Id h ve the benefit of a trial by jury; 


d that Hi x»cuti n sga n C 


th n gltb 


toy d. The Honse fisad n time for 


hBari th p ttl 


a Ed 


d th ti 


t be stayed. On the ISth of the 


f 11 wi B A gi t th 


P ' 


as dismias d 


-Jo, n<a of Ihuss of Rep. 



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84 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

"the arrears of his salary be paid with all convenient speed;" 
and that, " notwithstanding the vote passed the 26th January, 
1728-9, Mr. Pai-sons is esteemed to be the regular settled 
gospel minister in this town." They further voted to raise 
money to satisfy the execution against the selectmen for 
neglecting to pay Mr, Parsons's salary ; but, being unwilling 
to countenance those who had opposed Mr, Parsons, they 
excepted from this appropriation " the fine laid upon said 
selectmen for their neglect." The selectmen were accord- 
ingly left to pay out of their own moneys the penalty for 
carrying out the votes of their constituents. 

It might be more satisfitctory to witness this retrocession 
of the town, in their controversy with their minister, if there 
was not pretty strong evidence that his friends and partisans 
took his opponents by surprise in carrying tliis measure. 

The meeting was adjourned ; and, when it was again con- 
vened, there seems to have been a general rally of the forces 
on both sides. The record says, that, upon the foregoing 
votes being read, "there appeared a number of men, and 
desired to know how those votes came to be passed, and de- 
sired to hear the warrant read. Some of them said they 
never had been warned to such a meeting. Tlie warrant 
being read publicly, Capt. Green said he had not been warned 
to the meeting, and that they had voted that that was not set 
forth in the wan-ant; and he, with several other men, desired 
that the moderator would see if the town would not recon- 
sider of those votes that were acted contrary to warrant, as 
Capt. Green declared that he would enter his dissent against 
the meeting as illeg-al. But the moderator wholly refused, 
and said he would not put no such thing to vote, without 
giving any other reason than ' I will not.' Then the mode- 
rator, with other of the inhabitants, desired some particular 
men to draw up some proposals to lay before the town, and 
they would adjourn the meeting to hear these proposals and 
consider on them." 



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IIISTORY or LEICESTER. 85 

All adjournment was accordingly had; and then,"tlie town 
being convened and the proposals being read, Mr. Moderator 
and Mr. Parsons, with some others of their company, made 
some unhandsome rei^ections, by reason that the proposals 
did not suit them; and so the moderator dissolved the meet- 
ing." 

These certainly look like rather high-handed measures. 
The moderator who thus played the part of aiitocrat over this 
little republic was Mr. Josiah Converse, and the triumph of 
"their company" was short-lived. In April, 1732, the town 
voted that they would not raise any money to pay Mr. Par- 
sons's salary for the year 1731." But within a few months 
the scale turned, and Mr. Converse was again chosen mode- 
rator of a meeting, called, among other things, " to see what 
method the town will take to call in the town's money, so 
that Mr. Parsons's arrears may be paid." 

Before reading this article, the meeting was adjourned; 
and the town-clerk, who had made so full and circumstantial 
a record of the action of the moderator at the former meet- 
ing, probably anticipating what would be the action of the 
adjourned meeting, staid away from it, and withheld his book 
of records. 

The people came together at ten o'clock ; and, in the words 
of the record, "they tarried until about one of the clock: 
and the town-clerk, who was Mr. Joshua Nichols, neglecting 
his duty in bringing or sending the town book and papers 
that was then in his hands, there could be nothing further 
done in tbeir affairs; and so the moderator dissolved this 
mectmg." 

But Mr. Nichols staid away to no purpose. Mr. Converse's 
star was more than ever in the ascendant, and his popularity 
was well-nigh unbounded ; for at the March meeting, in 1733, 
be was chosen moderator, first selectman, town-clerk (thereby 
superseding Mr. Nichols), town-treasurer, first assessor, and 
a hog-reeve. 



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86 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

In April, they " voted not to allow any part of the money 
assessed upon the land for the five years past to be disposed 
of to any other use than to pny Mr. Parsons, until all his 
arrears are paid." 

In May, Mr. Converse's cup of honor was made full hy 
his election to the General Court. But though there was an 
armistice, so far as Mr. Parsons was concerned, there seemed 
to have grown up a bad state of feeling in the town, which 
showed itself by the multiplied lawsuits which were com- 
menced about this time (1733). Thomas Newhall had one 
suit against the town, Thomas Richardson and Steward South- 
gate had three ; and the town was indicted again for the want 
of a schoolmaster. 

The quarrel between Mr. Parsons and the town had been 
so long continued, and had become so scandalous in the 
public mind, that the people of the neighboring towns were 
inclined to interpose to put a stop to them ; and " six Worces- 
ter gentlemen, appointed to come int-o Leicester to see if they 
can reconcile the differences between Mr. Parsons and the 
town," paid a visit to the town for that purpose. This led to 
the appointment of a Committee on the part of Leicester, who 
waited upon Mr. Parsons, " and had discourse with him con- 
cerning his laying down the gospel ministry amongst us." 

The proposition was favorably received, and mutual pro- 
posals for a settlement were adopted, which were ratified 
on the part of the town, and resulted in calling a mutual 
council to dissolve the connection between Mr. Parsons and 
his people. This action took place in January, 1735; and 
in March the council met, and came to a result which was 
accepted on the part of the town ; and Mr. Parsons thereupon 
ceased to be their pastor. But he did not cease to make 
his presence known and felt in that community. 

In May following, the town were called together "to see if 
they would come into some effectual measures to prevent 
Mr. Parsons encroaching upon the ministry lot or town land, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 87 

or making strip or waste on the timber that groweth there- 
on." The next year, the town raised thirty pounils to "pay 
Mr. Lynde the court- charges which he had been put to 
by Mr. Parsons, about the way that went over Gary's Hill ; " 
though what Mr. Lynde had done which had aggrieved Mr. 
Parsons does not appear. 

Though we shall have occasion to rccm- to Mr. Parsons 
again, it is a relief to bring to an end the narrative of these 
protracted details of strife and bitterness.* The contrast 
which will appear in their personal and official character- 
istics, between him and his successor, might serve as an 
interesting study in the science of human nature. 

Where the blame lay, in the origin of the feelings of aliena- 
tion which gave rise to such disreputable transactions, it is 
unnecessary now to attempt to settle ; nor is there any occa- 
sion to impute bad motives or dishonest intentions to either 
party. It is but an instance and an illustration of what is 
witnessed every day, in every age, of passion and will uncon- 
sciously putting on the guise of conscience and duty; and 
the man, be he minister or be he layman, really thinking he 
is battling for truth and right, when, in fact, intent only upon 
a party success, or a personal triumph over an enemy. 

The whole history of Mr. Parsons's connection with this 
people, up to his death in 1743, is a sad one. He carried to 
the grave the feelings of bitterness which had been engen- 

* By i-ecords discovered Bince the above wns written, It wouid nppeftr, that, soon 
anep Ills dismissal, Mr. Parsons removed to Belohertown, then callsd Cold Spriiif;, mid 
resided there a few yeara, and where a son of his settlad permnnentiy. While there, 
in 1T8T, he commenced two actions against the town ; 1 suppose, for arrears of salary. 
What tlie resalt of these was does not appear. The town made a defence, and, as 
appears by their records, paid their agents t«n shillings per day for their time and 
expenses In attending court, and "forty shillings which they paid the attorneys." 

I find a deed from " David Parsons, formerly of Leicester, now of Gold Spring, clerit," 
to James Lawton, jun., of Leicester, saddler, dated November, 17S9, of " forty acies of 
land, lying on both sides of (he brook where the said David Parsons built a mill, with 
the said mill (being a gristmill) and the appurtenances," This mill stood at the outlet 
of the Town Meadow. Mr. Parsons, however, soon chose to return to the battle- 
ground he had so long occupied, where he continued to reside till his death. 



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88 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

dered in his controversy witli the town; and was buried, by 
his special direction, on his own land, apart from the graves 
of his people. He was unwilling that his ashes should repose 
by the side of those with whom he had worshipped in the 
sanctuary, and to whom he had broken the consecrated bread. 
His grave, once visible in a mowing-field, about thirty rods 
north of the present Meeting-house, has been levelled by the 
ploughshare ; and the headstone, with his name inscribed 
upon it, no longer serves, as it did for more than a century, 
as a monument of human frailty.* 

It is pleasant, therefore, to turn to the brief history of his 
successor, — the Rev. David Goddard. 

There was, however, an interval of more than a year be- 
tween the dismission of Mr. Parsons and the settlement of 
Mr. Goddard. It required some time, in tact, to overcome 
the state of things, in respect to the religious interest of the 
town, which had been produced by these protracted difficul- 
ties and disputes with Mr. Parsons. The Meeting-house, 
never in complete order, had been suffered to fall into such 
general dilapidaton thit it lequi ed an expenliture of ten 
pounds merely to repiii the ^la s m it wmdows before it 
could be consider d fit t i the ube cf a new mmister. 





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on the Bnbject. " I sent a man's head into the aali-hole of tlie hoase, &c., the other 
dsy, for his slioulders could not ba admitted; and, aa good luck would have it, the Key. 
Mr. Fareons's gmvestone happened to be right-sida doicmcard, and the following 
inscriptuin could be i-ead: ' In memory of Rev. Mr. David PursonB, who, after many 
years of hard labor and suffering, was laid here, Oel- 13, 1T18, aged Bixty-three.' 
'" Sai'ah Pursons died June y* 17, 1759, aged seventy-throe.'" 

It may be no plaee to mooiiize on a subjeot like thisj bnt it is certainly anongii to 
cause one to pause and ask, " What is fame?" when the only rooord of the decease of a 
man who filled so important a sphere, and wsfl the founder of so widely spread and 
honorably diatingnished a ihmily, is found iu such a place, and devoted to such a 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 89 

In tliis interval, preaching waa supported by contributions 
taken up from sabbath to sabbath ; and the pulpit was supplied 
a part of the time by a Mr. Ejce. The church and society, 
during that time, set apart a day of fasting and prayer for 
direction from on high, in regard to a successor to Mr. Par- 
sons ; and on the 30th January, 1736, they gave Mr. Goddard 
a call to settle. They oiiei-ed him three hundred pounds as a 
settlement, and a hundred pounds per year as a salary so 
long as he should remain fhdr minister. The form of the 
vote indicated an intention to avoid the life obligation, which 
they would have been understood b» assuming towards him 
if the offer had been unlimited or unqualified in its terms. 
They had learned from their recent experience to be chary 
in forming life alliances even in so sacred a relation. 

He accepted the invitation in a brief and pertinent answer, 
wherein, among other things, he expressed a wish that the 
church might be governed by the rules adopted by the New- 
England churches in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. He 
was ordained June 30, 1736; and remained their pastor until 
his death, Jan. 19, 1754 He lived in a house belonging to 
him, upon the east side of the Charlton Road, near, and as is 
supposed in front of, the house where Mrs, Hobart lives, but 
which disappeared before the memory of any one now alive.* 
His salary was often in arrear; but a spirit of Christian 
forbearance on his part led to a corresponding concession 
upon the part of the town, who repeatedly added fifty pounds 
to his salary, in the way of an appreciation of his claims 
upon their consideration, for these delays and the great 
depreciation of the currency. His connection with his people 
was uniformly kindly and happy on both sides ; and his sud- 
den and early death, at the age of forty-seven, was deeply 
lamented as the loss of a faithful minister and good man, 

" He bonght this of John Curtk 
tuiiieil firty ticvBB, a snuill himse nnd I 
James Jiickson aiid Uunjiimiii Johnsi 



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90 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Mr. Goddard was born in Framingliam, Sept. 26, 170C. 
He was the son of Hon. Edward Goddard, who, at one time, 
was a member of the Council. He was graduated at Harvard 
in 1731, and married Mrs. Mary Stone of Watertown for bis 
first wife, in 1736 ; and, for his second, Mrs. Martha Nichols 
of Pramingbam, in 1753, less than one month before his death. 
His death occurred while he was upon a visit at I'ramingham, 
during what was known there as the " great sicljness." It 
prevailed with great mortality in that and the neighboring 
towns of HolHston and Sherborn, and carried off the father 
r.nd mother of Mr. Goddard within a month after his death. 
His widow married again, and removed to Pramingham; and 
I am not aware that he left any family in Leicester. 

After the death of Mr. Goddard, the pulpit was supplied by 
occasional preachers, who seem to have visited the town on 
horseback. I find £11. 10s. appropriated to pay for the enter- 
tainment of these ministers, and X18 for that of their horses. 

The Rev. Joseph Roberts was invited in July, after Mr. 
Goddard's death, to settle over the church and society ; and 
in his answer accepting the call, which is too long to copy 
here, that sordid love of money, which became his ruling 
passion, is strangely mixed up with professions of a devoted- 
ness to God and his service. 

The town voted him a settlement of ^133. 6s. 3d. silver 
money, and £QQ. 13s. 8d. per annum salary, in silver money 
at 6s. 8d. per ounce. Though nominally a less sum than 
that paid to his predecessor, it must have been considerably 
more in value, by reason of the diiference between silver and 
Province bills, which constituted almost the entire currency 
of the Province at the time of Mr. Goddard's settlement. 
At that time, silver was worth 27s. 6d. per ounce ; though it 
rose at one time before his death to 60s. per ounce. 

Provision was made by the town for the entertainment, at 
the ordination of Mr. Roberts, of " ministers, messengers, and 
scholars." 



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HISTORY OF I,EI(;ESTER. 91 

Ordinations were made, in fact, at that time and for more 
than half a century afterwards, occasions for a general fes- 
tivity and unbounded hospitality on the part of the people 
of the town where it was to occur. Ministers were settled 
for life ; and it was a great marriage-feast, to which every . 
door, however humhie, was opened. It became a holiday for 
all the surrounding country; and no man, though he were 
a stranger, was suffered to depart from the town, without 
having shared at the hospitable board of some of its people. 

For some reason, the ordination was postponed until Oct. 23, 
1754. 

Though a bachelor, he purchased, and at first lived upon, 
a large tract of land in the westerly part of the town, 
where Mr. Robert Watson resided : but, in 1760, he pur- 
chased the estate where Eev. Mr. May lives ; which was 
afterwards owned and occupied by Rev. Mr. Conklin, his 
successor. 

He was settled under favorable auspices ; was a mau of 
good natural powers of mind, and of respectable attainments 
in scholarship. But there were inlierent defects in his moral 
and mental organization, which soon brought him into differ- 
ences with his people. He was grasping and avaricious, and 
manifested far more eagerness to gain and save money than to 
win the favor of those over whom he was settled. The con- 
sequence was, that, as early as 1762, a council was called to 
settle the difficulties which had grown up in the society. 
The only part taken in the measure, by the town, was to make 
provision for the entertainment of the council ; while the 
church prepared, and laid before the council, a statement 
of their grievances. In view of these, a dissolution of the 
connection between them and their pastor was recommended ; 
and he was accordingly dismissed Dec. 14, 1762, though very 
much against his will. He very soon after sold his estate in 
Leicester, and removed to Weston ; where he lived to the age 
of ninety-one, and died April 30, 1811. 



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92 HISTORY or Li;iCi:sTi:a. 

Mr. Roberts was born in very humble life, in Boston, in 
1720. He was graduated at Cambridge in 1741, In a claes of 
twenty -five, be ranked, in dignity of family, the twenty-aecond 
of the number. The struggles to which he was probably 
subjected while obtaining his education might perhaps have 
developed that sordid love of hoarding which characterized 
him in the latter part of his life. 

After his removal to Weaton, he preached oeoasionally, but 
was never settled. The diffieidties with the mother-country 
coming on, he took an active part in the political agitations of 
the day ; and was, at one time, a member of the Committee 
of the town for the purpose of enlisting and providing soldiers 
for the army. He was a member, and took an active part in 
the deliberations, of the convention which framed our State 
Constitution in 1779. He was frequently, afterwards, a repre- 
sentative from Weston in the G-eneral Court. 

He engaged in business with a cunning and unscrupulous 
speculator; whereby he became involved in several expensive 
and harassing lawsuits, and lost a considerable part of his 
estate. This soured his temper and imbittered his life : he 
became a miser and a misanthrope. He suffered himself to be 
imprisoned for a debt growing out of his connection with the 
speculator above mentioned, and remained in prison two or 
three yearsj until his creditor was glad to compromise the 
debt. He had, at the same time, bags of money lying in his 
house ; which were found after his death, and had been so long 
hoarded there, that they were too much decayed to hold their 
contents upon being raised from the place of their deposit. 
He died, as he had lived, like a beggar. He had for years 
denied himself the necessaries of life, and not an article 
of his wardrobe was fit for the tenant of an alms-house. 
Such was the sequel of the life of a man who was possessed 
of more than ordinary natural powers, educated to a liberal 
profession, once the pastor of a respectable religious society, 
and who, with nobody but himself to care for, sacrificed his 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 93 

reputation, his influence, and his comfort, to a sordid love 
of useless and umised gold. 

The successor of Mr. Roberts was the Rev. Benjamin 
Conklin. He was invited to become the pastor of the church 
and society, in Axigust, 1763; and was ordained Nov. 23 
of that year. At his ordination, the Rev. Mr. Forbes of 
Brookfield made the introductory prayer, Rev. Mr. Maccarty 
of Worcester preached the sermon. Rev. Mr. Buckminster of 
Rutland gave the charge, and the Rev. Mr. Davis of Holden 
gave the right hand of fellowship. His salary was fixed at 
the same sum as Mr. Roberts's had been ; and provision was 
made for the entertainment of " ministers, scholars, and genile- 
Tiien," at the ordination. 

A connection thus formed continued with mutual satis- 
fection for thirty years ; and was another illustration of a 
familiar observation, that a man may he useful and influential 
without being great. He was never distinguished for brilliancy 
or originality as a preacher, but always maintained a respec- 
table rank in his profession, and exercised a marked and salu- 
tary influence among his people. 

Mr. Conklin was a native of Southhold, L.I. ; and was born 
in 1732. He was graduated at Princeton, N.J., in 1755. His 
manners were easy and famOiar, and his conversation was 
enlivened with humor and pleasant anecdote. In one respect, 
he was fortunate : his sympathies were all in favor of the 
movements which resulted in the Revolution, and the ardor 
of his temperament harmonized with the popular enthusiasm 
that prevailed in the community in which he moved. A dis- 
satisfaction had grown up in one of the neighboring towns, 
with their minister, on account of his want of fervor and 
animation ; and some ono gravely advised that he should 
exchange with Mr. Conklin, that the people might be supplied 
with all they wanted of either.* 

* Tha following illusfrntivs anect^ote of Mr. Conklin \<ns hiisn recently told me.. 



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94 mSTOHY OF LEICESTER. 

It waa a time when all ranks and professions were engrossed 
by the calls of patriotism ; and none lent a more willing ear 
to these than Mr, Conklin. At one time, he was a member 
of a patriotic convention ; at another, one of the Committee of 
Correspondence of the town ; and, at all times, he waa an 
active and zealous advocate of the popular cause. This might 
have arisen partly from the character of the parishioners by 
whom he was surrounded. Among them was an unusually 
large number of prominent and leading men upon the same 
side in politics. The names of Henshaw, Denny, Allen, 
Washburn, Brown, and Newhall, will at once occur to any 
one at all familiar with the history of the town. On the other 
hand, with the exception of Judge Steel, I doubt if there was 
a loyalist to be found in the town. 

When the State Government had been established, Mr. 
Conklin was found an equally decided advocate for its sup- 
port. This rendered him so much an object of jealousy and 
disfavor on the part of the insurgents, at the time of " Shay's 
Rebellion," that he was repeatedly obliged to fly from his own 
house, and conceal himself, in order to escape the violence 
with which he was threatened. 

He married Mrs. Lucretia Lawton, the widow of Dr. Pliny 
Lawtoa of Leicester, in 1769 ; by whom he had three children, 
— two sons and one daughter. 

In his person he was large, and rather inclined to corpu- 
lency. For many years before his death, he was afflicted with 
a painful and incurable disease ; which induced him to ac- 
cept a proposition from hia people to pay him a gratuity 
of a hundred and seventy pounda, exempt his property from 
taxation, and have his connection as their pastor dissolved. 



Bra willing to tliinTt they should not liarm the people of another society by prenehing 
in tlieir pulpit. Ona who differed from him in this sentiment remonstrated Willi him 

upon his ei-ror, and closed by sBjing, " Mr. Conklin, woald you preach in Mr. '8 

pulpit?" — "Tes," was Uie ready reply: " I woald preach on Mara' Hill, if I oould get 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 95 

The arrangement was carried out by a council, consisting 
of Lrs. Sumner of Shrewsbury, and Austin and Bancroft of 
Worcester; who bore testimony to his high character aa a 
clergyman and a citizen. This took place in June, 1794. The 
separation was with kindly feelings on both sides ; and the 
town, in a vote expressive of their sentiments towards him, 
tendered him their thanks for his useful and arduous services, 
and their sympathies for his declining health and increasing 
infirmities. 

He lost his wife, who died of dropsy, in March, 1793; 
and his own death took piace Jan. 30, 1798, in the sixty- 
seventh year of his age. A part of the epitaph inscribed 
upon his headstone had been selected by himself, and is as 
follows : — 

"Hie jacet Eenjamin Conldiii M., in cxpcclatione diel snpremi. 
Quails erat, dies iste indieabit." 

Mr. Conkiin lived in a house which stood where the Rev. 
Mr. May now lives. His land extended westward as far aa 
the Common, and the lane leading to the house formerly 
occupied by Mr. Parsons. The house was, I presume, as old 
as any in town, if not the oldest ; and was probably erected 
by Mr. Samuel Stebbings, to whom lot No. 1 — on which it 
stood — was allotted in the first division of the town. It was 
afterwards owned by Mr. Larkin, from whom it passed to Mr. 
Roberts, and from him to Mr. Conldin. Ebenezer Adams, 
Esq., next owned the house : he moved into it in 1800, and 
thoroughly repaired it, Mr. Luther Wilson purchased the 
place of Mr. Adams. Mr. Alpheus Smith owned it, and lived 
there many years after Mr. Wilson's removal, and enlarged 
and repaired it ; and, at last, the house was removed by the 
Rev. Mr. May to make room ibr his present much more 
elegant mansion. 

After the dismission of Mr. Conkiin, Mr. James Tufts was 
employed to preach for the society, and was invited to settle 



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96 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

as their rainietsv. But, there being some opposed to liis 
settlement, he dechned tlie call, and was afterwards, in 1795, 
settled over a society in WardBborough, Vt. ; where he long 
sustained the character of a useful and faithful minister, until 
his death a few years since. 

After this, the Eev. Dr. Appleton, afterwards President of 
Bowdoin College, preached here, and received a unanimous 
invitation to become the pastor of the society ; and it was a 
matter of great regret on the part of the people that ho 
declined their invitation. 

After Dr. Appleton, the Rev. Zephaniah Swift Moore was 
employed to supply the pulpit ; and, by a unanimous vote 
of the society, was invited to settle as their minister, in Octo- 
ber, 1797, upon a salary of four hundred dollars a year. He 
accepted the call, and was ordained Jan. 10, 1798. The Rev. 
Mr. Pope of Spencer made the introductory prayer ; Rev. Dr. 
Baclcus of Somers, with whom he had studied divinity, 
preached the sei-mon ; Rev. Dr. Sumner of Shrewsbury 
made the consecrating prayer ; Rev. Dr. Piske of Brookfield 
gave the charge ; Dr. Austin of Worcester, the right hand of 
fellowship; and the Rev. Mr. Mills of Sutton, the concluding 
prayer. 

He married Miss Phebe Drury,^ daughter of Thomas Dru- 
ry, Esq., of Ward, now Auburn, — Feb. 27, 1790 ; and lived in 
the house, now of Mr. Edward Knowles, at the corner of 
Charlton and Great Post Road, which had been erected a 
few years before by Joseph Washburn. 

He remained the minister of the town until Oct. 28, 1811 ; 
when, having been appointed Professor of Languages in 
, Dartmouth College, he asked and obtained a dismission from 
his people, to their universal regret. In his position as 
minister of this people, he exerted an influence and com- 
manded a respect, which every one was ready to acknow- 
ledge, and which has rarely been surpassed. He left town 
on the 1st November, 1811, attended by a large number of 



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I^^^^-^J'.^^e}, 



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mSTOEY or LEICESTER. 97 

Ilia parishioners and frieuds in carriages, wbo escorted Iiim 
several miles from the town; while the children of the 
schools, ranged by the side of the road along which he M'as 
to pass, paid their simple testimony of respect, and of sorrow 
at his departure, by standing with saddened countenances 
and uncovered heads as the procession passed slowly by 
them. 

Dr. Moore filled too many important stations, besides that 
of pastor of this church, to be passed over with a mere men- 
tion of his connection with the town. 

He was born in Palmer, Nov. 20, 1770. His mother was a 
Swift, from Sandwich, from whom he. took his name ; she 
having been the daughter of Zephaniah Swift. His father 
was a farmer ; and, being in somewhat straitened circum- 
stances, removed to Wilmington, Vt., then a new settlement, 
when this son was about seven or eight years old. Here the 
son was employed upon the farm untd he was about eighteen 
years of age, with only limited means of cultivating his 
mind. At that time, he began to attend the Academy at 
Bennington ; and, the next year, offered himself for admission 
to Dartmouth College. He took at once a prominent rank in 
his class, and maintained it by strong natural powers of mind, 
improved by close and constant devotion to study. He was 
graduated in 1793, with a high reputation for sound learning 
and scholarship. 

After leaving college, he taught an academy in London- 
derry, N.H., for one year. He then commenced the study 
of theology with the Rev. Dr. Backus of Somerg, Conn. ; 
for, it will be recollected, tin's was before the days of theo- 
logical seminaries in our country. He was licensed to preach, 
Feb. 3, 1796. 

Passing over his connection with the people of Leicester, — 
except to say, that one year, while minister there, he filled 
the place of Preceptor of the Academy with great accept- 
ance, — he remained connected with Dartmouth College until 



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98 HISTORY OF LEIOTKTER. 

the autumn of 1815 ; when he was elected to the presidency 
of WiSliama College, made vacant by the resignation of Dr. 
Fitch. He remained at the head of that college until 1821 ; 
when he accepted the place of President of Amherst Colle- 
giate Institution, which, after his death, was inco]-porated as a 
college. In 1816, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity 
from his Alma Mater. In 1818, he preached the Election Ser- 
mon hefore the government of the State ; and was, for several 
yeara before his death, a member of the Board of Commission- 
ers for Foreign Missions. 

He died June 30, 1823, at the age of iifty-two, in the midst 
of his vigor, usefulness, and honors. His wife survived until 
1857. 

Dr. Moore left but few publications, and these were princi- 
pally occasional sermons. Like most of the public men in 
New England, he built up his success by his own exertions. 
He sometimes amused his friends by tracing what he plear 
aantly called the causes of his success. 

His sister had married the Eev. Mr. Mills of Sutton. Soon 
after being licensed, he made a journey to Sutton to visit her. 
This was extended several days beyond its intended limit, by 
reason of his horse becoming lame and unable to travel. It 
was during this delay that Miss Drury, who was a friend of the 
family of Mrs. Mills, came there upon a visit. This accidental 
interview led to a visit on his part to the young lady, at her 
father's : and, while there, the people of Leicester invited 
him to preach for them; and, being pleased with, settled him. 
Here he formed an intimate acquaintance with Mr. (after- 
wards Professor) Adams, which grew into a strong and ardent 
friendship. Mr. Adams, after residing a while at Exeter and 
Portland, became a professor in Dartmouth College in 1809 ; 
and when, by the death of Professor Hubbard, and Mr. 
Adams's appointment to succeed him, there was a vacancy in 
the office which he had been filling for the year then past, he 
recommended and induced the trustees to elect Mr. Moore to 



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HISTORY OI' LEICESTER. 99 

the professorship. And thus, in the order of sequences as 
traced by himself, he owed his election to the presidency of a 
college to the opportune sickness of the animal he rode. 

In whatever situation Dr. Moore was placed, he showed 
that he had a fitness and capacity for filling it with honor and 
usefulness. Though he was a profound thinker, and his turn 
of raind was decidedly metaphysical, his style was remarkably 
simple and clear, and his sermons were adapted to the taste 
and comprehension of his hearers. His manner was dignified, 
calm, and self-possessed. The tones of his voice were clear 
and pleasant, but not loud ; nor did he in the pulpit ever 
attempt to play the orator, although he invariably commanded 
the attention of his hearers. There was a great sweetness 
of manner in hia intercourse with others, especially towards 
the young; but underlying this was a finnness of purpose, 
an indomitable resolution of spirit, which no discoui-agement 
could daunt or defeat. He was eminently fitted for the office of 
a teacher and manager of a literary institution : the accuracy 
of his knowledge, the clearness of his apprehension, the plain 
and simple manner of communicating his ideas to others, 
his great tact in understanding chai-acter, with his uniform 
urbanity of manner, were qualities which he possessed, as a 
college-officer, to a degree rarely excelled. However others 
might have differed from him in respect to measures, no man 
could deny his eminent claims for consistent piety, great 
executive talent, and profound sagacity; nor hesitate to ac- 
cord to him the qualities of a gentleman, a companion, and a 
friend, as well as a faithful servant of the Master he professed 
to serve. He left no children ; and the results of a life of 
prudence and industry were devoted to the college to whose 
early success he gave the best energies of his life. 

It is now near half a century since Dr. Moore's connection 
with Leicester ceased ; but the silent, indirect influence of 
such a man's teachings and example might have been traced, 
in the moral and intellectual tone of that community, for many 



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100 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

years after his voice had ceased to be heard in their pulpit, 
their schools, and tlieir social circles. His memory is still 
one of the historical treasures of which the town has so 
goodly a stove in the recollections of the past. 

The 'Rev. John Nelson was invited to preach as a candidate, 
by the society, the week following Dr. Moore's departure from 
town. An invitation to settle there was soon tendered to him; 
and on the 4th March, 1812, he was ordained, upon a salary 
of four hundred and fifty dollai^ per annum. The ordination- 
services were performed by the Rev, Dr. Bancroft ; Dr. 
Austin, who preached the sermon; Mr. Avery of Holden; 
Mr. Pope of Spencer; Mr. Whipple of Charlton; and Mr. 
Mills of Sutton, who, it will be recollected, had taken part 
with Dr. Austin and Mr. Pope in the ordination of his pi-ode- 

Happily, the time has not yet come, — and long may it be 
delayed ! — when it is proper to speak of Mr. Nelson with the 
fulness of detail in which the living may indulge when recall- 
ing the virtues and excellences of one upon whose character 
Death has set his seal. 

He was born in Hopkinton. lie removed at an early age, 
with his father, to Worcester. He was graduated at Williams 
College in 1807, and was afterwards a tutor in that college 
for the year 1809-10. He studied theology with the Rev. Dr. 
Austin of Worcester, He married Zebiah, daughter of Abi- 
jah Bigelow, Esq., of Barre, May 4, 1812. From 1826 to 1833, 
he was a trustee of Williams College; and, in 1843, received 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from that college. 

The amount of salary paid to Dr. Nelson was increased from 
time to time, in order to meet in some measure the rapidly 
increasing expenses of living ; which, within the period since 
he was settled, have more than doubled, by a comparison of 
prices paid, and the style demanded by the customs of social 
life. 

In consequence of impaired health, the society of Dr. Nelson 



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IlIS'l'OKV OF LKICESTER. 101 

thought proper to call, aa a colleague to his aid, the Eev. 
Andrew Clark Denison, who accepted the invitation ; and on 
the 4th March, 1851, — on the thirty-ninth anniversary of Dr. 
Nelson's ordination, — he was ordained as such. He was to 
receive six hundred dollara ae salary, while Dr. Nelson was 
to he paid the sum of four hundred dollars ; each of which 
was afterwards increased hy an additional hundred dollars a 
year. 

Though the vigor of his early manhood and middle life had 
been spent, and enfeebled health had diminished his capacity 
for labor, the society would have done great injustice to them- 
selves, as well as to him, if they could have suffered him to 
be left unprovided for in hia age. The instances, however, 
are not rare, where the claims of an old and faithful servant 
have been forgotten by the generation that have taken the 
place of those upon whose invitation he united his fortunes 
with a parish whose interests he had labored to advance. 
The harmony that has prevailed, hitherto, in the society, is 
the best guaranty that a life of nsefulness and devotion to 
the cause of his Master will be cheered to its close by the 
reciprocal regard of an appreciative people. Whoever shall 
complete this work will speak of one, who, for almost fifty 
years, has ministered to this people as the faithful pastor, 
the useful citizen, and the Christian gentleman. 

Mr. Denison was born in Hampton, Conn.; was graduated 
at Yale College in 1847 ; and studied theology at the semi- 
naries in East Winsor, Conn., and New York. He remained 
the colleague -pastor with Dr. Nelson until March, 1856 ; 
when, at his own request, he was dismissed. His connec- 
tion with the society was mutually pleasant and a.greeable ; 
and the dissolution of their connection was upon satisfactory 
terms, and with harmonious feelings. 

Mr. Denison was succeeded by the Rev. Amos H. Cooledge, 
who was ordained as colleague with Dr. Nelson, April 21, 
1857. He WM bom in Sherburn, Mass., Aug. 17, 1827; 



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102 HISTORY OF LEICESTEK. 

graduated at Amherst College, 1853; and at Andover Theo- 
logical Seminary iu 1856. He is still the asaociate-pastor of 
the society. 

As the law stood for a hundred years or more after the 
incorporation of the town, its parochial affairs were managed 
by the town, under its municipal organization, although 
there was a society of Friends, and also of Baptists, which 
had early withdrawn from the original religious society of 
the town. The town held its meetings in the Meeting-house. 
The society's meetings were called by officers of the town, 
and the record of its proceedings was preserved as part of 
those of the town, 

In 1826, however, the town took measures to provide 
themselves with a public hall. It was dedicated on the 
1st January, 1827; on which occasion a public address was 
delivered by Emory Washburn. It was built in connection 
with the Leicester Bank ; occupying the upper story of a 
building which stood, substantially, where the present Town 
Hal! stands. 

This, having become inadequate for the accommodation of 
the town, was removed to its present position, a little south 
of the public-house; and, in 1854, the present commodious 
and expensive structure was erected in its place. 

In the mean time, the members of Dr. Nelson's society, as 
the First Parish, applied to Emory Washburn, Esq., as a justice 
of the peace, to call a meeting of the same, for the purpose of 
organizing them as a parish ; and upon the 9th of February, 
1833, a meeting was held, by virtue of a warrant issued upon 
this application, and a body corporate was, accordingly, organ- 
ized as the First Parish in Leicester, who have since had 
their own records and managed their own affairs. 

A history of the first meeting-honse in town was attempted 
in the first part of the present chapter ; and it seems proper, 
in this connection, to give some account of the edifice that 
succeeded it. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 103 

It is hardly necessary to repeat to what extent tbe first 
house had become unsnited to the convenience, comfort, and 
taste of the people. The burdens assumed by and imposed 
upon the town during the war precluded the idea of volun- 
tarily incurring that of erecting a new meeting-house ; but, 
immediately on the return of peace, the attention of tlie 
inhabitants was turned to supplying so urgent a want. 

The building was raised in the first week of July, 1784; 
and was placed a little in the rear of the former one. In 
size it was substantially the same as it now is, except that it 
had no belfry or steepie. These were added four or five 
years afterwards. The main entrance was upon the south ; 
the doors opening directly into the body of the church. 
There were also doors at the east and west end of the 
building. A broad aisle ran from the front-door to the pul- 
pit; and a narrow one diverged from this to the right and 
left, and, running around the interior of the house, came into 
the broad aisle again in front of the pulpit; leaving a row of 
square pews next to the wall, extending from the front-door 
around to the pulpit on each side, with a space between them 
for the opening of the east and west doors. 

There were fifty square pews, in all, upon the lower floor, 
and twenty-three in the gallery; those in the gallery being 
constructed along and adjoining to the east, south, and west 
sides of the house. To reach these fifty pews from the 
principal doors and avenues, sundry narrow passage-ways 
were necessary ; and the movements of the people, in order 
to reach their several localities in the house, seemed to a 
looker-on very like the moves of the pieces upon a chess- 
board. 

Upon each side of the broad aisle, in front of the pulpit, 
were sundry long seats, or benches, with upright backs, called 
" body-seats ; " which were free to all, though generally occu- 
pied only by the aged and the poor, — the women sitting 
upon one side of the aisle, and the men upon the other. 



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104 HISTOKY OF I.KICKS'J'KR. 

This avrangement of " body-seata " continued np to 1807; 
when "they were all removed but one upon each side, and 
their places supplied by four new pews. 

The pulpit was of rather a unique order, though not un- 
common at the time it ^yaa built. Its front was a section of 
an octagon, projecting from the general panelled front of the 
structure, terminated below by the sides being curved and 
brought to a point. Below this was an oblong box, called the 
" deacon's seat." The access to the pulpit was by a single 
flight of stairs turning at right angles about half the distance 
from the floor to the pulpit-door; forming a "broad stair," 
which it was very common for some large dog, that had 
accompanied his master to church, to select for a place of 
repose while the services were going on. Over the pulpit 
hung a formidable sounding-board, which corresponded in 
shape somewhat with the projecting front of the pulpit ; its 
upper surface converging to a point at the top, and looking 
as if fitted to serve for an extinguisher for the pulpit. 

The galleries were square, extending upon three sides of 
the house. The square pillars that supported these, the base 
and cornice of the fronts of the galleries, of the deacon's 
seat and pulpit, and the cornice running around the sounding- 
board, were painted in a feind of pointed block-work of shaded 
marble, unlike any thing ever seen in nature, and rarely if 
ever in art anywhere else. 

The pews, as has been stated, were square, and were fur- 
nished with narrow seats all around, except at the entrance 
by the door, and the side next the pulpit ; and, consequently, 
a considerable proportion of the audience presented only a 
profile-view to the preacher while addressing them. The pews 
were finished with panelled sides; above which was a wide 
rail, supported by little turned balusters, some six or eight 
inches long, the chief use of which, next to their beauty, 
was to give employment to the ever-busy hands of the little 
children who attended church, in finding out which of them 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 105 

could bo turned around, and occasionally disturbing their more 
sedate mammas by the unmistakable creak which some of these 
balusters would give if forced to move. Scarce a single seat 
in the church was furnished with any thing like a cushion. 

But the most remarkable arrangement in respect to these 
pews -- though it is believed tfl have been universal in meet- 
ing-houses of that date — was that all these seats were hung 
upon hinges, and were so divided as to be easily raised when 
the worshippers stood up, as was always done, during prayer- 
time. Each pew, therefore, had about five or six separate 
seats to be raised or let fall ; and as it was the universal 
custom to raise these whenever the congregation stood in 
service, and as universal to let them fall without regard to 
the noise thereby made, and as this was always done pretty 
nearly in unison, the elTect can be imagined upon one unused 
to such a singular fusilade,— as this process seemed to be, to 
an unaccustomed ear. Some may remember the alarm main- 
fested, on one occasion, by a gentleman from Philadelphia, 
who attended church here with a friend whom he was visit- 
ing, whose pew was upon the western side of the meeting- 
house, under the gallery. At so sudden and unlooked-for 
a termination of a solemn devotional exercise, he was per- 
suaded, for a moment, that the gallery was cracking, and 
comirg down around his ears ; and, seizing his hat, he was 
about to rush for the door, when the undisturbed aspect of his 
neighbors dispelled his apprehension. 

No material change in the condition of the house, beyond 
the erection of a belfry and steeple, took place until 1826 ; 
when it was removed back to its present position, — thereby 
occupying a portion of the original burying-ground of the 
town, and covering the graves of several persons who had 
been early laid there. In 1829, there was a complete change 
and renovation of the iiterior of the church. Its old pulpit, 
with its sounding-board and its deacon's seat, and the old 
square pews and the galleries, disappeared ; and it assumed its 



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106 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

present form. It was dedicated anew on the 13th December 
of that year. It may boaet a better observance of the laws of 
symmetry, and a greater convenience of aiTangement; but it 
has lost, for the few remaining representatives of a former 
generation, the associations which hallowed even its ugliness 
in architectural proportions, and its violations of good taste. 

The first bell and cloclc which had ever belonged to the 
town were manufactured by Mr. George Holbrook of Brook- 
field, and placed upon this meeting-house, Jan. 13, 1803. 
There had previously been placed on the Academy a small 
bell, which is said to have been a gift to that institution ; but, 
with this exception, there seems to have been no means of 
calling the people together by any thing like a bell, till the 
year 1803. The first bell was recast in 1810, and again in 
1834. About the same time, a valuable clock was presented 
to the town by Joshua Clapp, Esq., and became a substitute 
for the original one, which had become somewhat irregular in 
its movements by thirty years' use. 

No history of the society that has worshipped in these 
houses can be deemed complete, without some allusion to the 
changes through which its sacred music has passed. Although 
the practice of psalmody, in some form, has been adopted 
by the New-England churches from the earliest planting of 
the Colonies, few are entirely familiar with the history of the 
ciianges through which it has passed. Two or three works, 
professing to give these changes, have been published within a 
few years ;* to which I shall take the liberty to refer, as ex- 
pJaining some of the proceedings of the town which appear in 
its records, and some which have come down to us from authen- 
tic sources in the form of anecdote and personal incident. 

According to the universal custom of these churches, the 
singing, such as it was, was strictly congi-egational. The 
tunes were exceedingly few: some of them, by omitting or 

• Oni; by George ilood, Esq.; the other bv NiiUianiel D. Gould, Esq, 



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HISTORY or LEICESTEK. 107 

inserting a syllable in certain lines, were made to serve 
the double purpose of long or common metre. Tlie conse- 
quence was, that not only were the whole congregation at 
liberty to unite in the exercise, but they did so, often to 
the sacrifice of accent and time, and not unfrequently of tune 
also. From the want of books, it was customary to sing from 
dictation; the deacon reading one, and after a few years 
two lines, which were sung ; and then followed a suspense, 
until another line or two was "deaconed out" and the tune 
resimied. 

The Pilgrims brought with them Ainsworth's version of the 
Psalms. This gave place to the "Bay Psalm-book," which 
was the first book printed in America. It Went through many 
editions in this country and England, — more than seventy 
in all; and, in 1758, it was revised and published by Rev. 
Thomas Prince of Boston, who had married a sister of Daniel 
Denny, the first of the name in Leicester. 

If space permitted, it might be amusing to refer to some 
of the matters upon which the public mind was agitated at dif- 
ferent times in the Colony and Province : such as, whether one 
person alone should sing, — the congregation joining in spirit, 
as in prayer; whether women should be allowed to sing in 
public ; whether " carnal men" and pagans, or only Christians, 
should be allowed to sing; and whether singing should be 
practised " in tunes invented ; " and whether it might bo done 
by reading from a book, and the like. 

An edition of Tate and Brady's version of the Psalms was 
published in 1741 ; and, from the recollection of an inform- 
ant, it was used in this society some time before and after 
1765; though from the greater popularity, in its day, of Dr. 
Prince's edition of the " Bay Psalm-book," and his connection 
with some of the principal faonilies in town, I should have 
supposed it more probable that the latter was the one then in 
use here. However that may be, the condition of the singing, 
as above described, is by no means exaggerated. 



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108 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Before 1720, a singing-school was an unknown thing in the 
Province. In 1690, there were only five or six tunes known 
here.* In 1714 was issued an edition of the "Bay Psalm- 
book," in which were printed thirty-seven tunes, all of whick 
hut one were common metre. The first book of music, ever 
printed by itself in the country, was by the Eev. Mr. Wal- 
ter in 1721 ; and this was the first music with bars ever 
printed in America. This, it will be recollected, was a few 
years after the settlement of this town. The singing of 
paalma was regarded, like prai^erj as a sacred exercise, in the 
performance of which people uncovered their heads. An 
edition of Watts was pubhshed in Philadelphia in 1741, but 
when it was adopted here I have do means of ascertaining; 
though it was not till after the war of the Revolution that it 
was generally adopted, and then only after a long and violent 
struggle. 

Before 1764, music had been printed with three parts ; but 
a work published in that year was printed with four parts, 
giving the principal melody to the tenor. 

Before, — from 1765 to 1770, — there were few or no choirs 
in the churches in the country. As these were formed, the 
custom of " lining," or " deaconing," the psalm, grew into 
disuse ; but, like every other change in the fashion of church 
music, it was only after a most violent and determined strug- 
gle that it was given up. It had been recommended by the 
Westminster Assembly of Divines, " as many could not read ;" 
and, having come down to them from thoir ancestors, the cus- 
tom had become sanctified in their minds, and was not to 
be surrendered. 

The first singing-book typographically printed, as distin- 
guished from engraved scale and notes, was published in 
Worcester in 1786. 

* Tlisse were Oxford, Litchfield, York, Windsor, St. Diivkl'a, and Mtirtyrs. Tlie 
introilviotion of r riPW tune wns a rare find gnive mntler, acted upon by the clinrcli, 
and often submitted to a vote of the iiarish. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 109 

It is, therefore, not surprising that a reform in the matter 
of singing gained ground slowly in Leicester. 

The first singing-school ever tanght in the town was about 
1767 or '8. In the latter year, they were called together " to 
see if the town will grant a number of young men, who have 
attained the rules of singing, the hindermost seat in the 
front gallery." Upon grave deliberation, that seat toeis appro- 
priated to " those who have learnt the rules of singing, until 
the further pleasure of the town." 

This was not aecomphshed, however, without serious oppo- 
sition, as has already been observed ; but a far more violent 
and determined resistance was offered to the more serious 
innovation of singing without " lining." 

This took place in 1780. The singers had appHed for per- 
mission to occupy the front seat in the gallery ; with a view, 
doubtless, of performing the service of singing as a choir, as 
a substitute for the general and promiscuous singing by the 
congregation. The permission was granted : and the choir, 
not stopping for the deacon to read the line, drowned his 
voice when he attempted it; greatly scandalizing him in 
his sacred office, and giving mortal offence to many by such 
an unholy usurpation. Many persons left the meeting-house 
in disgust : good Mr. K. and his wife were among the num- 
ber ; and they consoled themselves in the assurance, which 
they pretty audibly expressed in the hearing of the congre- 
gation, that, " when Col. W. got home from the General 
Court, he would put a stop to such scandalous doings." 
Unfortunately for them, the gentleman referred to had be- 
come familiar with the change in Boston, and approved it ; 
and it was found that revolutions in psalm-singing, any more 
than in more worldly affairs, never go backwai-ds. 

Since that time, nothing of an historic interest has occurred 
in this department of public worship here, beyond the occa- 
sional outcropping of that sensitiveness and those petty jealou- 
sies which form an essential clement in every singing ciioir. 



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110 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

About 1827, a few members of the society purchased by 
contribution, and placed in the meeting-house, a cheap 
church organ ; which, in a few years, gave place to the one 
now in the church. This was the first church organ ever 
owned in town; and it may be stated in this connection, 
that the first piano-forte, ever in town, was purchased by the 
late Col. Thomas Denny, for his danghter, about 1809. It 
was several years before there waa a second one ; and this 
was owned by Miss Southgate, daughter of the late John 
Southgate. 

In concluding what I propose to say of the First Congre- 
gational Society, I may add, that the idea of warming the 
meeting-house by artificial heat seems never to have occurred 
as a practicable thing until about 1812. 

The good lady of the femily was supplied with a tin foot- 
stove, upon which the children were occasionally permitted 
to warm their aching fingers. At the interval between the 
forenoon and afternoon services, the houses of those living 
near the meeting-house were warmed and opened, and gene- 
rally crowded by those who lived more remote from the 
meeting-house. Especially was this the case with the two 
public-houses, in the bar-rooms of which the affairs and topics 
and news of the week sometimes intruded upon holy time. 
At last, it having been ascertained by the public that the 
same means by which a shop or factory could be warmed of 
a week-day might be applied to render a meeting-house com- 
fortable of a Sunday, a few individuals — though not without 
opposition on the part of others — contributed the necessary 
means; and, about 1812, stoves were placed in the meeting- 
house. The physical comfort of the congregation has since 
been cared for, without, as it is hoped, detracting from the 
spiritual well-being of those who worship there. 



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HISTORY Oe LEICJiSTKR. 



A society of Anabaptists were worshipping here as early 
as 1736. It had been gathered by Dr. Thomas Green ; and 
their place of worship was in the soiith part of the town, in 
what is now Greenville, in tlie vicinity of Dr. Green's resi- 
dence. He was the first minister of the society ; and, through 
his instrumentality, a meeting-house was early erected, which 
remained without any considerable change until 1825; when 
it was enlarged and repaired, and rendered a comfortable and 
convenient house of worship. 

I am unable to give the names of those who constituted the 
society at its commencement; but I find among its members, 
in 1744, "William Wicker, Benjamin Pudney, Thomas Jones, 
Joseph Trumbull, Nathaniel Jones, Josiah Powers, Jonathan 
Pudney, and Ebenezer Tohnan. 

Dr. Green, the first minister of this society, was the son 
of Capt. Samuel Green, and was born in Maiden in 1699. 
His father came to Leicester as early as 1717, and was one of 
its earliest settlers. While he was preparing to remove his 
family, he visited the town, bringing his son with him ; and 
left him there to look after some cattle, which he had driven 
irom Maiden, and turned out upon his lands in Leicester. It 
was summer ; and, as he expected to return in a short time, 
no danger was apprehended in leaving the young man — then 
seventeen or eighteen years old — thus alone in the wilder- 
ness. He, however, was soon attacked with a fever ; and his 
father was unexpectedly prevented from returning as he had 
intended, and he was left to battle with the disease as he best 
could. His only shelter was a kind of cave under a rock, near 
the stream on which his father afterwards erected his mills. 
His only sustenance consisted of the milk of one of the cows, 
which he contrived to obtain by tying her calf to a tree near 
his cave ; which led her to visit the spot several times a day, 



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112 HISTOKY Of LEICKSTJIR. 

and brought her within his reach. The water he used, he 
obtained by creeping npon the ground to the atream. In 
this deplorable condition, some of his former neighbors who 
were landholders, and abont to remove to Leicester, and had 
come there to look after their cattle, found him. He appealed 
to them for aid to return home ; but they were unable to 
afford it, and left him. On their return to Maiden, they 
informed his father of his condition ; and he immediately 
came to his relief. But he had no other means of removing 
his sick son through the new and (a considerable part of 
the way) wilderness country between Leicester and Mai- 
den, except on horseback ; and, after four days' travelling, 
he accomplished the journey. 

He removed to Leicester with his fether, and continued to 
reside in the same immediate vicinity as long as he lived. He 
became an eminent and successful physician ; having, by 
somewhat peculiar circumstances, been enabled to acquire 
a medical education much superior to that of neighboring 
physicians. It is said that two English surgeons, who had 
been engaged in the half-piratical character of buccaneers, 
and had surrendered themselves to the government under 
a promise of pardon, became the inmates of Capt. Green's 
house, and boarded in his family for several years. Finding 
the son tractable, and inclined to cultivate a natural taste for 
medical science, they readily undertook his instruction ; and 
supplied him, moreover, with such few books as they could 
commLind. With an education thus begun, and a vigorous and 
discriminating mind, — by which he wrought the facts that 
fell under his observation into the materials of science, — he 
soon attained eminence in his profession ; and was called into 
all the region around, and often into Rhode Island and Con- 
necticut, in the course of his wide and successful practice. 
A notice of his death, in the " Boston Evening Post," speaks 
of him as " a very noted physician," 

But, as already mentioned, it was not in the medical pro- 



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HISTORY ()!■■ LEICESTER. 113 

fession alone that he tooli an active and prominent place. He 
became a distinguished divine as well as doctor. The church 
and society which he helped to organize and build up, was, at 
first, composed of persons in Sutton and Leicester. He was 
ordained its pastor, in Leicester, in 1736; the society having 
erected a meeting-house near his father's, where the Baptist 
Meeting-house now stands. This lot of land he gave to the 
society, together with a farm and house for a parsonage 
which lie a little west of the Charlton Road, upon the road 
leading by the house now of Charles Barton. The house in 
which he himself hved was next beyond the river, on the 
Charlton Road ; in which his grandson Samuel afterwards 
kept a tavern. He was a faithful, zealous, and devoted pastor, 
and a popular preacher. It is hardly necessary to add, that 
his life was one of great activity and usefulness. 

He married Martha, daughter of Capt. John Lynde of Mai- 
den, the father of one of the settlers of Leicester, who was 
hers as early as 172L His wife died June 20, 1780. The 
doctor died Aug. 19, 1773, at the age of seventy-four. They 
were buried in the cemetery around the church in which he 
ministered, where their remains reposed until the consecration 
of the Rural Cemetery in Worcester ; when a distinguished 
descendant, who has sustained the reputation of the ancestor 
as a physician, removed them to that beautiful repository 
of the dead. Dr. Green had seven children : Samuel ; Martha, 
who married Dr. Robert Craige ; Isaac ; Thomas ; John, who 
removed to Worcester ; Solomon; and Elizabeth, who married 
her father's successor, the Rev. Dr. Foster. 

Rev. Eenjamm Foster, D.D., was settled over this society in 
1772. He was born in Danvers in 1750, and was graduated 
at Tale College in 1771. He studied theology with the dis- 
tinguished Dr. Stillman of Boston ; having become a convert, 
it is said, to the opinions which he afterwards maintained, 
by having, while in college, been appointed to defend infant- 
baptism by sprinkh'ng. 



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114 HISTORY OF LEICESTElt. 

After remaining at Leicester about eight yeara, the society 
being unable to provide him a suitable maintenance, he was 
dismisaed, and preached about two years in Danvera. Prom 
thence he removed to Newport, where he was settled over 
a society, and remained until 1788 ; when he removed to 
New York, where he became the minister of the First Baptist 
Society in that city. Here he remained till his death, in 1798, 
in the forty-ninth year of his age. His death was as heroic 
as his life had been eminent for piety and usefulness. He was 
residing in the city when the yellow-fever broke out in 1798. 
While others fled in consternation from the power of the 
destroyer, he stood at his post undismayed : he shrunk from 
no call of duty; and fell a martyr to a devotion, in his ministra- 
tions, to the dying and the dead. He died Aug. 26, 1798. 

He was a learned scholar and an eminent divine. He was 
honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity, from Brown 
University, in 1792. While in Leicester, he published a work 
on polemical divinity, and eubeqiiently a dissertation upon 
the seventy weeka of Daniel. He waa well acquainted with the 
Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic languages ; and had achieved 
a high reputation for learning and ability, when cut down in 
the midst of his usefulness and growing reputation. 

He married, for his first wife, Elizabeth Green, daughter of 
Dr. Thomas Green ; and, for his second, a lady of New York. 

Dr. Foster was succeeded by the Rev. Isaac Seals ; and the 
Rev, Nathan Dana became bis successor. The Rev, Peter 
Rogers succeeded Mr. Dana : he lived where Mr, Charles 
Whittemore lately lived ; and, after a few years, removed, 
and was settled over a society in Leyden. 

I regret my inability to speak more fully of these gentle- 
man. The society, never numerous or rich, has been at times 
embarrassed and feeble ; and, consequently, unable to retain 
settled pastors for any considerable length of time. Their 
supply has, therefore, often been temporary. 

Among those who, at times, have supplied the pulpit, waa 



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HISTORY or LKi(;i:w']'j':i:. 1.15 

Rev. Nathaniel Green. He was the sou of Capt. Nathaniel 
Green, who is elsewhere mentioned in this work ; and was 
bom in Stoneham in 1721. He removed to Leicester, and 
resided there more than twenty years ; after which he re- 
moved to Charlton, where he continued till his death, in 
1791, at the age of seventy. He was ordained as a Baptist 
minister at the mature age of forty-three ; and preached at 
various times in Leicester, Spencer, and Chariton. He had 
ten children, — all born in Leicester between the years 1749 
and 1770. 

In 1818, the society was divided in consequence of the 
remoteness of several of its members from their place of 
worship ; and a new society was formed in the north-east part 
of Spencer. Since that time, the Rev. Mr, Hill, Rev. Benja- 
min N. Harris, Rev. John Green (a descendant from the 
primitive stock of the name), and Rev. Moses Harrington, 
have preached at different periods to this people. It is 
pleasant to know that the society are about to erect a better 
house of worship, upon the site of the ono hitherto occupied 
by them. 

Besides the Baptist society above mentioned, there was, 
for many years, a society of that denomination in town, to 
which Elder Richard Southgat« was preacher. They met in 
the schoolhouse which stood opposite the honse then of 
Judge Steele. It was never organized as a corpoi-ate religious 
society ; and, after the death of Elder Southgate, seems to 
have been merged in other societies. 

Elder Southgate was a son of Richard Southgate, who came 
here from England at the first settlement of the town. He 
was born in England, July 13, 1714. He married Eunice 
Brown of Leicester ; and lived in a house (where there is now 
a cellar) near the west line of the town, upon the north side 
of the road leading by the house of the late Thomas Sprague. 
He died in 1798, at the age of eighty-five. Among his 
descendants is a well-known gentleman, who is elsewhere 



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lib HISTORY Of LEICESTER. 

noticed ; who has been, for many yeai's, a promiiioiit and 
enterprising citizen of Leicester. 

QUAKERS. 

There was an association or society of Friends, in Leicester, 
from a period as early as 1732 till recently ; when, in conse- 
quence of the removal of so large a proportion of its members, 
its place of meeting was transferred to Worcester. 

One of the earliest of these was Ralph Earle, — the ancestor 
of the once numerons, and always respectable, families of that 
name in town. He became an owner of lands in the town, 
and removed there from Tiverton, R.I., in 1718. At what 
time he associated himself with the Friends, I am unable to 
determine ; though, from the active part which he took in the 
settlement of Mr. Parsons, I infer that at that time, and for 
some time after, he was a member of his society and church. 
In 1732, however, he, with seven others, certified to the clerk 
of the town, that they belonged to what the clerk, with evi- 
dently little regard to the spelling of the king's English, calls 
"those people called Quackers." The names of his associates 
were William Earle, Thomas Smith, Robert Earle, Daniel Hill, 
Nathaniel Potter, Joseph Potter, and Benjamin Earle.* 

I have not been able to trace more fully the origin of the 
society which, soon afterwards, was in possession of a house 
of worship that stood where their present meeting-house 
stands.t The present house was erected in 1791. As most 

" steward Southgnta, who had been a meinber of the oliuroh of the First Sooiety, 
joined the Qnakers nbont 1T46. I find a oopy of the following TOte of the Gharish : ~ 

"At a meeting of the First Chnrch of Christ in Leicester, May 28, 1745, the following 
■vote waa pnt to the brethren: ' Verily, brethren, if it be your minds to choose a Com- 
mlttae to denl with Brother Steward Southgata, and inqnire into the reiisons of hia 
withdrawing himself from oommunion with ue, both in word and ordinances, you 
are desired tomuuifest.' It passed in ye afiirmative ; and Deacon Sonthgnte and Bro- 
ther John Brown were oliosen to be a Committee foi' the HboTe-mentioned end, and to 
make return at onr next meeting. D. Goedabd, Pfiior." 

" Deacon Sontligate" was James, uncle of Stewart. 

f I find it mentioned aa standing in 1743. A friend describes it aa a low, one-stoiy 
boilding, twenty by twentyJ^wo feet. It was sold, in 1791, to Luther Word; who 



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HISTOKY OF J.EICESTKR. 117 

of the society resided in the northerly part of the town, their 
house was naturally located in that neighborhood. The spcit 
is one of much beauty; and if, as Whitney (in his History of 
the county) says, the house " is a very good one for their way 
of worship," — taken with its surroundings, it is singularly 
attractive to persons of a contemplative turn of mind. J'ew 
things in nature could be better fitted to soothe and harmonize 
the tired spirits of a busy week than the solemn stillness 
that reigns there of a calm sabbath morning in early summer, 
when nothing is heard but the rustling leaves of the forest- 
trees by which it is surrounded, and the pleasant notes of the 
birds that nestle in their branches. 

The society was never numerous, but always embraced a 
large proportion of thriving, intelligent, order-loving members. 
In 1826, their number was about a hundred and thirty ; but, 
as already stated, so many have since that time removed from 
the town, especially to Worcester, that meetings are no longer 
held in their meeting-house. It stands as an historical monu- 
ment ; and the ashes of some of the best citizens of the town, 
in their day, repose within the enclosure which surrounds it. 

EPISCOPAL SOCIETY. 

In 1823, a Protestant-Episcopal church and society were 
formed, in that part of the town now called Clappville, of 
families belonging to Leicester and Oxford (then called Oxford 
North Gore). Among these, Samuel Hartwell, Esq., James 
Anderton, Francis Wilby, and Hezekiah Stone, were the most 
active. A church was erected upon land given by the last- 
mentioned gentleman ; which was consecrated by Bishop 
Griswold on the last Wednesday of May, 1824. 

The first rector inducted into oifice was the Rev. Joseph 
Muenscher. He was born in Providence ; was graduated at 

remOTad it to the pines where it now atnnds, upon the Rutland Road, sonth of whera 
Barattrd Upliara formerly lived, at the intersection of whst was once called Tea Lane 
with ttiat road. It was fitted and oooapied as a dwelling-house by Mr. Ward. 



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118 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

BrownUniversity in 1821 ; studied theology at Andover ; and 
was admitted to orders by EisKop Griswold, in March, 1824. 
He married Ruth, a daughter of Joseph Washburn, Nov. 21, 
1825; and their marriage was the first ever solemnized in a 
clmrch, in the county, according to the forms of Episcopal 
sei-vice. He left Leicester in 1827; and was subsequently 
rector of a church at Northampton, and in Saco, Me. ; after- 
wards a professor in Kenyon College, 0. ; and, for many 
years, rector of a church in Mount Vernon, 0. He received 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Kenyon 
College. 

Upon his removal from Leicester, the Rev. William Horton 
succeeded him in the ministry for two years. The Rev. Lot 
Jonea was then rector for four years ; Rev. Stephen Millet, 
one year; and Rev. Mr. Blacfcaller, foiir years. In 1838, 
Rev. Eleazer Greenleaf became rector for one year; when Rev. 
John T. Sabine succeeded him. After six months, Rev. Wil- 
liam Withington became the rector, and remained nearly two 
years. In 1841, Rev. P. G. Putnam was rector for one year. 
In 1843, the Rev. Orange Clark, D.D., was rector for one 
year. The next five years, the Rev. James L. Scott filled the 
office ; and, since that time, the present incumbent, the Rev. 
J. Hill Rouse, has been the rector. 

UNITAEIAN SOCIETY. 

In the autumn and winter of 1832-3, several famiUes in 
the town formed a Unitarian religious society, which was 
organized on the 13th April, 1833. The following year, they 
erected a neat and convenient house of worship. Aug. 13, 
1834, the Rev. Samuel May was ordained over the church 
and society, and remained their pastor until July 12, 1846. 
Mr. May was a native of Boston ; was graduated at Harvard 
in 1829. He married a daughter of the Hon. Nathaniel P. 
Russell of Boston. 



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IHSTORY OF LEICESTER. 



The society has at no time been numerous, and has been 
for a considerable part of the time, since the dismission of 
Mr. May, without any permanent preacher. Among those 
who have supplied its pulpit has been tlie Kev. Dr. Thomp- 
son, formerly settled hi Barre. 



METHODISTS. 



Previous to 1828, there were very few, if any, Methodists 
in the town. "With a pretty general acquaintance with the 
people, I am now unable to recall a single one. About 
1841 and 2, an interest was awakened in the minds of many 
in favor of the views entertained by tliat denomination of 
Christians ; and, in October of the latter year, they began to 
hold meetings in the Town Hall. After this they continued 
to increase till they were able to erect (in 1846) two meeting- 
houses,— one in Cherry Valley, the other in the village of 
Leicester : the first being a Methodist Episcopal society ; the 
other, a Wesleyan-Methodist society. That in Cherry Valley 
was burned down in February, 1856; but soon after rebuilt. 
The ministers of the MethodistEpiscopal society have been 
■— George Dunbar, J. T. Pettee, G. P. Pool, T. W. Lewis, 
D. Z. Kilgore, "W. B. Olds, Daniel Atkins, G. E. Chapman, 
J. W. P. Jordan, Albert Gould. Those of the Wesleyan- 
Methodist society: William C. Clark, Christopher C. Mason, 
David Mason, Simon E. Pike, J. A. Gibson, Thomas Williams, 
and Benjamin R. Bullock. 

CATHOLICS. 

A still more remarlcable innovation upon the early religious 
notions and habits of the people was made by the erection 
of a Roman -Catholic church on the Great Post Eoad, about 
half a mile east of the village, in 1855. 

My own memory goes back to a time, when, with the 
exception of an amusing and ingenious Scotch tailor, there 
was scarcely a single person of foreign birth in town. It is 



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120 ItlBTORY OF LEICESTER. 

believed there was not one. The establishment of manufac- 
tories in town led to the introduction of a few (chiefly Englisli ) 
families, between 1815 and 1821 ; but I cannot recall a single 
Catholic resident of the town tiU many years after the period 
last mentioned. 

The influx of a Catholic population of foreign birth within 
a few years past, many of whom are now freeholdera in the 
town, led to the erection of the church above mentioned for 
their accommodation.* 

If we could imagine some of the early inhabitants of tlio 
town returning to their former homesteads, we could easily 
conjecture their surprise at hearing the shibboleth of a strange 
tongue around the very hearthstones where they once ga- 
thered their now scattered and almost forgotten households. 

Happily, there seems to have been a disposition to yield 
without complaint to what, in our country, is regarded by 
many as the law of progress ; while the chief evil of these 
multiplied sects consists in weakening the disposition and 
ability to sustain either, in a manner suitable to the dignity 
and importance of the religious institutions of a people, 

JEWS. 

Perhaps no more proper connection than the present will 
present itself in which to introduce an interesting episode in 
the history of the town, — the residence here, for some years, 
of several families of Jews. It has not, however, any thing 
properly to do with the ecclesiastical affairs of the town; 
though these families brought with them, and scrupulously 
maintained while here, their peculiar forms of faith and wor- 
ship. 

They camo here from Newport, in 1777, to find a refuge 
from the invasion of the island by the British troops, as did 

' It h Blaied upon volialile authority, that, for ii few yefirs psst, a majority of the 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 121 

several other families from the same neighborhood ; this being 
regarded a retired and healthy locality, where they might 
find a safe and hospitable retreat. I have heard the late 
venerable Thomas Roteh, jun., of New Bedford, — whose 
wife, then a yonng woman, had removed with her family from 
Newport to Leicester, — speafe with an interest, which nearly 
seventy years had not subdued, of the character of the town 
for hospitality and public spirit during the period of which I 
am speaking, and during which he more than once visited it. 
He spoke in terms of affectionate recollection of families 
with whom he then became acquainted, whose names, even, 
have now become matters of history only ; but to some of 
whom I shall have occasion to allude again, when I come to 
speak of the genera! history of the town. 

Including their servants and slaves, of whom I have spoken 
in another place, the number of persons embraced in these 
families of Jews was about seventy. They were of Portu- 
guese descent, as might be inferred from their names, — 
Lopez, Rivera, and Mendez. 

Abraham Mendez lived, a part of the time, in the house 
opposite to where Mrs. Samuel Newhall now lives ; and a part 
of the time in the old house which stood at the foot of the 
Meeting-house Hill, where the house of the late Capt. Joshua 
Sprague now stands. 

Jacob Rod Rivera lived in the house, which forms a part of 
the Hotel, opposite the Meeting-house. He purchased this 
estate, consisting of thirty-one acres of land, of Nathan Waite, 
in September, 1777 ; and, in his deed, is described as a mer- 
chant. 

Five of the number bore the name of Lopez. The princi- 
pal and head of the families of this name was Aaron Lopez, a 
man universally esteemed and respected by a wide circle of 
personal and business friends. He was a merchant of great 
wealth, and engaged extensively in trade while he resided in 
Leicester. He purchased the estate, afterwards occupied by 



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122 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

the Academy, of Henry Bass of Boston, and Joseph Allen, 
Esq., of Leicester, Feb. 1, 1777 ; and erected thereon what 
■was called in that day "a large and elegant mansion," de- 
signed for a store as well as a dwelling-house. His stock of 
goods on hand, at the time of his death, exceeded twelve 
thousand dollars ; while his entire estate was valued at more 
than a hundred thousand dollars. 

I give the boundaries of hia estate, which are described 
in his deed, as partly depicting the condition then of that 
portion of the village. It is said to be " on the north side 
of the Country Hoad, eastward of and neai- to the Meeting- 
house : bounded southerly by the Country Road, six rods ; 
eastwardly, to a heap of stones ; then by the land of the Rev. 
Benjamin Conklin, &o., to a heap of stones on a rock ; then 
turning, &c., to a stake, and heap of stones, by the lane lead- 
ing from the Meeting-house to the renmins of a house foi-merly 
possessed by Israel Parsons, deceased ; from thence bounded 
westerly by said iane in part, and partly by the iraining-Jield, 
to the south-east comer of the place whereon the old school- 
house stood, — and containeth half an acre by measure, to- 
gether with a dweUing-houae and shop situate thereon." 
He afterwards added a half-acre adjoining it, upon the east ; 
and these two constituted the estate which Col. Crafts and 
Col. Jacob Davis afterwards purchased, and gave to the 
Academy. 

Mr. Lopez also owned other lands in Leicester; but none of 
these families engaged in agricultiire as a business. Mendez 
and Rivera, as well as Aaron Lopez, were traders, though to 
a much smaller extent. Moses Lopez and Jacob Lopez were 
clerks of Aaron ; as well as Joseph, his son, who was also a 
member of his family. 

Though without a place of assembling for worship here, 
they rigidly observed the rites and requirements of their 
own laws, keeping Saturday as holy time ; but, out of regard 
to the sentiments of the people among whom they were 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



123 



settled, carefully keeping their stores closed from Friday 
evening until Monday morning of each week* 

Though differing from their neighbors in matters of reli- 
gious faith, they won the confidence and esteem of all by 
their upright and honorable dealing, the kindliness and cour- 
tesy of their intercourse, and the liberality and public spirit 
which they evinced as citizens. 

They remained here until the ratification of peace in 1783 ; 
when, with the exception of Mr. Lopez, they returned to 
Newport, carrying with them the respect and kind regard 
of a community with which they had been intimately asso- 
ciated for six years. 

No one of their contemporaries hero survives; but their 
residence was always spoken of, by such as had personally 
known them, as a matter of pleasant memory, which it is 
believed was reciprocated by those who had found here a 
pleasant home.f 

The fate of Mr. Aaron Lopez was a melancholy one. I 
have spoken of him as a man of wealth and liberal views. 
He had been one of the merchant-princes of Newport, when 
that city commanded the foreign commerce of the country. 
After his removal to Leicester, his style of living was gene- 
rous and hospitable ; and the furniture of his house, the plate 
upon his table, and the retinue of his servants, wore an air 
of magnificence among his less-endowed neighbors : but the 
cordiality of his manners and his liberal hospitality disarmed 
all cavil and envy on their part. 

On the 20th May, 1782, he started with his wife and some 
members of his family for Providence. His femily were in a 

• I cannot forbear notioitig a very emnll, tiongh iHther important, typogi-aphical 
mlstoke of Uie printer, in pnbllBhirfi a brief history of tlie town in 1826. Tlia writer 
Imd spolten of the return of these families of Jens to Newport, and of their Bynngogue 
Ihere beinj: nnooonpiad, &o. By some accident, tlia "i" was dropped from tbe word 
fflws, BOBS to fix the locality of the synagogue "/lei'ef'-iuidinqnlrieslmve often been 
made by the cnrloas to aacevloin in what part of Leicester it was to ba found, 
t Mr. Rivera died at Newport in Februiiry, 1789. 



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124 niSTOllY OF LEICESTER. 

carriage ; he in a " sulky," driven, of course, by himself. 
In Smithfield, the road passed close by the edge of Scott's 
Pond, so called, the shore of which is very abrupt, and the 
water, at a short distance, deep, Mr. Lopez, probably being 
unaware of the fact, allowed his horse to enter the water in 
order to drink; but, perceiving he was getting beyond his 
depth, sprung from the sulky into the water, and, being 
unable to swim, sank and perished, in view of his agonized 
and affrighted wife and children. 

The following just tribute I copy from a paper of the day ; 
which, after noticing the circumstances of his death, adds, 
" Ho was a merchant of eminence, of polite and amiable man- 
ners. Hospitality and benevolence were his true character- 
istics. An ornament and a valuable pillar in the Jewish 
society of which he was a member. His knowledge in com- 
merce was unboimded ; and his integrity, irreproachable. 
Thus he lived, and thus he died ; mach regi-otted, osteomed, 
and loved by all." 



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inSTORY OF LEICKSTER. 



CHAPTER V. 
LOCAL HISTORY. 

GAERISONS.-IMDIAN WARS. -CASUAL TIES. -JOHK SOUTHGATE, .Tun. 

— VILLAGE OF LEICESTER, — THE LAST SPINNER. — ATJNT HANNAH. 

— SOCIAL HABITS— CELKERATION OF FOURTH JULY.- WASHING- 
TON. — LAFATF.TTE. — CEMETERIES. — MOUNT PLEASANT, &o. — 
]'UBLIC-HOUSES. — CELLAKS. — EMIGRATION. 

By local history, which h the subject of the present chapter, 
is intended those incidents and events which are supposed to 
have a sufficient interest to be preserved by their local asso- 
ciation and relation, but have no immediate connection with 
the persons or events which are treated of in the general 
history of the state or country. In all candor, therefore, to 
the reader, it should be observed, that, without the attraction 
of local attachment or personal associations, he can hope to 
find little to repay him for the time its perusal might cost 
him. 

Besides the difficulties inherent in the very attempt to 
record such events, there are in the present case many pecu- 
liar to the undertaking. The time for writing such a chapter 
has gone by. A thousand incidents worthy of being pre- 
served have been lost or forgotten, or have ceased to be of 
interest, because few or none are left to narrate them, or to 
appreciate their value if made accessible by the labors of 
others. 

Of the groups who, fifty years ago, might be gathered in 
any part of the town, with memories teeming with recollec- 
tions and traditions of the days prior to and during the 
Revolution, not one remains. 



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126 



HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



This circumstance has before been alluded to; and it is 
again recalled, because it is chiefly to memory and tradition 
that any community is indebted for much of the material of 
ite own proper local history. From the immediate descend- 
ants of a generation which shared in the hardships and 
dangers of the Indian and French wars, the boy of fifty years 
ago often listened to the tales which the fathers of that 
generation had told their children of their trials and suifer- 
ings. Some of the first settlers were alive when the war of 
the Revolution broke out, and could have told of tie felling 
of the first tree by the white man, while the smoke yet rose 
from the wigwam in the forest. They could have pointed 
out where they had seen the beaver building his dam in the 
meadow, and told how the wolf and the bear and the wild- 
cat had divided with the settler the mastery of the wilderness 
in which he reared his lonely log-cabin. 

Traditions derived from such sources would have found cre- 
dence and been read with satisfaction by the children of those 
who shared in the scenes they described. But the children 
as well as the actors are gone ; and, if these traditions are 
gathered up at all, it must be for a generation who can feel 
little personal interest in their preservation. 

I have already spoken of the hermit of Carey's Hill, whom, 
it is said, our fathers found dwelling all alone among the 
denizens of the forest. 'Who he was, or why he had chosen 
this retreat from a world by no means overcrowded, has not 
come down to the present age ; and even a belief in the tra- 
dition at all is somewhat of a tax upon modern credulity. 

That our fathers found here the Indian, and the wild beast 
which he hunted, there have been proofs preserved to the 
present generation, besides the records of the settlers. The 
arrowhead, the rude stone axe and chisel, of the aborigines, 
have been occasionally dug up in the places of their former 
haunts. The dam which the beaver constructed, and the 
deep, well-like holes which he dug, in connection with the 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 12 i 

half-humaa habitation in which he dwelt, have been visible 
in various parts of the town within a few years ; and might, I 
doubt not, still be seen in the Town Meadow, if objects, which 
were once the subject of curious research, have not been 
obliterated by having been overflowed in the process of con- 
verting it into a mill-pond. 

The outline of Judge Menziee' gairison, that stood near 
the Henshaw Place, as a refuge from the Indians, might, till 
recently, have been easily ti'aced by the eye; and the erec- 
tion of a garrison around Mr. Parson's house was one of the 
first corporate acts of the town which are contained in its 
records. Another garrison stood near the house of the late 
Jonah Earie ; and the house of the late John King, Esq., 
which was among the earliest built, is said to have been a 
garrison, and, till within a few years, to have shown marks of 
musket-balls, which must have been received at that early 
period.* 

It will be recollected, that, till 1725, tliis was a frontier 
town. A war began with the eastern Indians in 1722, and 
continued till December, 1726; in which the frontier settle- 



* Since the above whs written, I hiiva found in the Secretary's office the following 
allusion to two of these gEirrisons : Aug. 8, 1T24, Thomas Newholl wrote to Lieut.- 
Gov. Dummer, tliat, in pursuance of orders from Col. Chiuitller, he had received 
nineteen Holdierfl into his majesty's BervicOi and, by iidvice of the Shrewsbcry officers, 
had posted ten of tliem in that town. Nine, with liimBelf, were posted satis fnotorlly to 
the inhabitants. But, understanding that Judge Menzies complained that he was abused 
in posting the men, he goes on to explain, that, as the judge's tenant had no suitable 
provision to accommodate a soldier, he had ordered him to board at the next neigh- 
bor's, who was ordered, as well as the soldier, "to the judge's garrison." Capt. Wright 
had been there, and did not Bee any cause to make any alteration! ^^t to oblige the 
judge, " there being now an honorable family removed into the judge's garrison," he 
had "'billeted him cut there." 

May 31, 1726, the liev. Mr. Parsons writes to the Lieut.-Goyemor, in which he says 
ha is under great obligation, &o,, — "1st, Abont my garrison i 2d, As to the two sol- 
diers, by Capt. Wright, posted by your honor's order. But they have been a consider- 
able time without avoci^ion. I meet with Bome diffioalty with one of them, who is 
not pleased with ray family orders, and, his captain being at a distance, takes more 
liberty than is very pleasing to roe." He says he does not mean to complain, but sug- 
gests some one, iifty miles distant, to taie his place. The reverend gentleman seems 
to have been anfortnnate ir 



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128 HISTORY Of LKICESTER. 

metita in Massachusetts were often threatened, and some- 
times attacked, though no general engagement took place in 
Massachusetts during that period. At the east, the memo- 
rable engagement at what was afterwards Fryeburg, known 
as Lovewell Fight, took place in May, 1725. In 1724, three 
persons were killed by the Indians in Rutland. Worcester 
was threatened ; and, whenever its inhabitants had occasion 
to go into the meadows to gather hay, they went guarded by 
armed scouts or soldiers. 

From Mr. Lincoln's model " History of the Town of Worces- 
tei-," and other reliable sources, we find that a detail of two 
men was made from the company of scouts under Major John 
Chandler, belonging to Worcester, for the protection of Leices- 
ter. These, with others from the same company, of which 
Thomas Newhall of Leicester was a sergeant, were posted at 
Leicester, doubtless at one of the garrisons above mentioned. 

In 1724, in consequence of the more threatening aspect of 
the war, twenty-nine men were detailed from the company 
of Capt. William Chandler, and posted at Leicester for the 
protection of its inhabitants.* 

The state of apprehension in which its inhabitants then 
lived may be learned from a letter which is preserved in the 
Secretary's office in Boston. It was signed, as will be per- 
ceived, by most of the principal inhabitants of the town ; and 
was in these words : — 

"Leickstee, April 30, 1725. 

" To }iu Honor the Lie^U.- Governor. 
"With all dutiful respect, these are to acquaint your honor, that, 
just now, there came news to us of two companies of Indians dis- 

• This waa probably on account, among othor things, of tlie letter of Thomas 
Newhall, of Aug. 8, 1724; a part of which has ali'eady been fpven. In that lie goes 
on to sny, " By order of Col. Chandler, I understand i hud command of the soldiers 
(the nineteen before mentiored). If othorwise, I pray your honor to signify it. Wa 
have not as yet made any remarkable discovery. Only, last Friday, one of our 
inhabitants, a very credible man, reaping near here, informs ns that au Indian had got 
within seven rods of liim, and, looking up, he had a certain discovery of liiiii ; mid, 
stepping a few rods for liis gun, iic b;iw liiui no more, but hastened home." 



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)!ISTORY OF LEICESTER. 129 

covered between us and the Waeliusetfa ; which is very surprising, con- 
sidering our inability for our own safeguard. As to tlie truth of llie 
report, with the circumstances, we are altogether at a loss; but we 
hear there is a post gone down to your honor about it. Tour honor 
having always been ready to keep us, and we having had some encou- 
ragement upon our late petition, we are encouraged to beseech your 
honor, if it may be, that we have some speedy assistance of soldiers lo 
defend us. 

" Our numbei' of inhabitants is very small, and several were rrmeh 
discouraged. It was so late the last summer before we had soldiers, 
that we were exceedingly behind with our business. 

" So, wishing your honor all happiness, and confiding in your honor, 
and rather from our experience, we are your lionor's in all grati- 
tude and obedience. 



" Thomas Newhall. 
EicHAKD South GATE. 
Benja. Johnson, 
Ralph Eaele, 
John Lynde. 



Willi A It Bkown. 
John Smith. 

jAMKa SOUTHGATE. 

Nathl. Richardson," 



The same year, the town presented a petition to the 
General Court to be relieved from tlie Province-tax, by 
reason of having been so much exposed and reduced to very 
low circumstances by the late Indian war ; and their petition 
was accordingly granted. 

Their condition in the year 1724 was thus referred to in 
a letter addressed by G-erahom Rice, of Worcester, to Col. 
Chandler ; " We are informed that it is objected against our 
having assistance, that Brookfield, Eutland, and Leicester 
defend us. As to Leicester, the people there more need help 
from Its than they are able to render u'- any ; as likewise do 
Shrewsbury and Hassanamiseo," 

Of the particular sufferings to which the people of Leices- 
ter were subjected during this war, no record is preserved. 
Amidst the general state of alarm which pervaded the scat- 
tered population of the interior, perhaps nothing occurred 
that was worthy of being recorded. The spread of civiliza- 
tion operated like an act of extermination upon the once 



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130 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

hostile tribes ; so that the early settlers were, in a few 
years, beyond the immediate danger of attack. 

The annoyance from noxious animals and venomous rep- 
tiles continued to a later period. Their records show, as late 
as 1740, the employment of pitfalls and other means for 
destroying wolves, and the payment of bounties for the kill- 
ing of rattlesnakes. 

The town has had its share, too, of the ordinary and ex- 
traordinary casaalties to life and property. A few only of 
these have been preserved, and fewer still can now havo 
any particular interest in their detail. 

In 1738, Mr. John Henshaw lost his dwelling-house by 
fire ; * and a second house, in the same manner, the following 
winter. 

The public-house of Edward Bond, situate where the house 
of Oapt. Hiram Knight now stands, was burned, with all its 
contents of provisions and furniture, on Sunday, the 18th 
January, 1767. 

In 1779, May 13, a valuable house of Phineas Newhall, 
together with most of his furniture, and a quantity of grain 
and liquors, were burned.f 

About 1811, the house of Stephen Sadler, onco the liouse 
of Jonathan NewhaU, in the south-west part of tho town, was 
burned on Sunday. 

In 1822, the house of Capt. Amasa Whittemore, in the 
south part of the town, was burned. In 1824, the house of 
Calvin Hersey, in the west part, was burned. 

In 1825, the tan-house of Jonathan AVarren, with its con- 
tents, was burned. 



* The houae stood where, or nen- where, Mr. Edwin Wnita's atauds. It vai sot 
OD fire by a femnle slave in hia family, who had come with them from Boston, nnd, 
being homesick, adoptetl this aa a means of compelling her msister to return to thnt 

t Thia house stood npon the North County Eoad, where Col. NewhaU kept a 
tayorii, mid where Mr. Edrty now live?. 



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inaxoRY or leickstee. 131 

In 1829, the barn of Edwin Waite was struck by lightning, 
and consumed. 

In 1833, the dwelling-house of the late Col. Henry Sargent, 
with its barn and wood-shed, and the bam, shed, and wood- 
house of Capt. Isaac Southgate, were destroyed by fire. 

In 1835, the dwelling-house of Josiah Kingsbury, in the 
south-west part of the town, was burned. 

In 1841, the house of Asa M'Gallum, in the sonth-west part 
of the town, was destroyed by fire, on Sunday, June 20. 

Feb. 9, 1846. In Clappville, the woollen factory of Messrs. 
Barnes and Denny, with its machinery, was destroyed by 
fire. 

Feb. 11, 1848. The woollen factory of Mr. Samuel Watson, 
in Cherry Valley, was consumed, with its contents. 

March 24, 1848. The woollen factory of Mr. Loyal G. 
Dickenson, on the same stream, and just above Mr. Watson's, 
was destroyed by fire. 

Oct. 19, 1848. Mr. Henry E. Warren's tan-house was 
burned, ^ — -situate half a mile north of the G-reat Road, in the 
west part of the town. 

April 17, 1850. The large brick woollen factory of Reuben 
S, Denny, Esq., in Clappville, was burned, with its contents ; 
the loss estimated at $65,000, mostly insured. 

Nov. 3, 1853. The barn attached to the hotel of Mr. Wil- 
ham Hatch, opposite the Meeting-house, was destroyed by 
fire in the night, together with eight horses and a large quan- 
tity of hay. 

Feb. 12, 1854. Another factory belonging to R. S. Denny, 
Esq., in Clappville, was consumed, with most of its contents : 
valued at $20,000, principally insured. 

April 26, same year. Mrs. Newliall's barn, about half a 
mile north of the Meeting-house, was struck by lightning, 
and consumed, with three cows. 

June 17, same year. The barn of Mrs. Dr. Holmes, in the 
village, was burned in the night-time. 



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132 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

July 1, same year. A part of the store of Mr, Danforth 
Eice was destroyed by fire. 

Feb. 21, 1855. The bam of Michael Kane, about a mile 
north of the Meeting-house, was burned. 

Feb. 3, 1856. The Methodist Meeting-house in Cherry 
Valley was destroyed on Sunday, about noon ; tlio day being 
intensely cold. 

On the 11th of April, 1856, a barn upon the Bridges Farm, 
in the south part of the town, and on the 7th of February, 
1827, a barn of Mr. Kibbe, were burned, the latter with seven 
head of cattle. 

In 1756, as stated in the "Boston Evening Post," Joshua 
Smith and son were killed in Leicester by the falling of a 
tree, which was blown down by the wind. 

In 1759, there occurred a remarkable hurricane, which 
passed over the westerly part of the town. Its direction 
was from the south-west to the north-east. In its course, it 
struck the house of Mr. Samuel Lynde, which stood where 
the house of Mr. Itobert Watson now stands, upon the north 
side of the Great Post Road. Ten or twelve persons were 
iJi the house at the time. The force of the wind was such, 
that the house was removed to a considerable distance, and 
torn into atoms. A barn and corn-bam, standing near the 
house, were entirely demolished ; and a horse in the barn was 
killed. The trees and fences in the track of the hurricane 
were prostrated ; and nails that had been in the house were 
found driven into trees by force of the wind, so firmly that 
they could not be withdrawn by hand. 

After passing some distance from the house, the wind took 
a course upward from the earth, so that the extent of its 
ravages was small. But of its force, where it was felt, some 
judgment can be formed from the fact, that a negro man, 
standing at the door, was taken up, carried near ten rods, 
and thrown with such violence upon the ground as to break 
both his legs and several of his ribs, causing his death. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 133 

A little girl, also standing at the door, was cai-ried through 
the air forty rods, and had an arm broken. Four women, 
who had been in the house, were found in the cellar, greatly- 
bruised, but unconscions bow they came there, A little boy 
was found completely covered by the rubbish of the build- 
ings, and rescued. A watch, hanging in the house, was found 
at a distance of more than a mile from the place where it 
had stood ; and articles, that were in it when struck by the 
wind, were afterwards found in Holden, more than ten miles 
distant. 

I have copied the foregoing facts from a contemporary 
statement published in the newspapers of the day ; and bor- 
row from the article its closing paragraph, to show the danger 
of even attempting to describe so fearful a tempest ; " A pile 
of boards, 'tis said seven thousand feet, being near the house, 
was shivered to splinters, and carried to a great distance, so 
that there were not pieces large enough left to make a coffin 
to bury the negro in ! " Where the materials of the unfor- 
tunate negro's coffin were obtained, history does not tell ; 
though, as the track of the hurricane was both short and nar- 
row, it is to be presumed there were enough left elsewhere 
in the town to serve the purpose. 

An incident connected with two of the inhabitants has an 
interest beyond its being connected with the history of the 
town. 

Francis and Isaac Choate were, in November, 1790, taken 
prisoners by the Indians, at a block-house upon the Muskin- 
gum River in Ohio, about forty miles above Marietta. Isaac 
was carried to Detroit, and there sold ; while Francis was 
given away to a Mingo chief. They were redeemed, and 
returned home in May following. There might be little 
worthy of remark in the mere fact that a citizen was taken 
prisoner in a war with the Indians ; but there is something 
calculated to awaken a train of interesting reflections in the 
circumstance, that it should have happened within the memory 



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134 



TIISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



of living witnesaes, in tbe very heart of a State, then a wil- 
derness, which now counts its population by millions. It 
serves to mark the extent and rapidity of the progress of a 
country, where the ordinary work of ages is accomplished in 
a single generation. 

One incident, the authenticity of which is beyond doubt, 
occurred in 1804, and had an interest beyond the neighbor- 
hood where it happened, from its partaking of the character 
of one of those mysteries which often puzzle the philosophy 
of the wisest, 

John Southgate (a wealthy and respectable gentleman of the 
town, often employed in the transaction of business which 
required intelligence and experience, and who is noticed in 
another connection) had a son of the same name, then some 
twenty-five years of age. The father was an extensive land- 
owner at Stillwater, between Bangor and Orino, in Maine. 
The son, though unmarried, was residing there for the pur- 
pose of taking charge of the property. His healtla was 
generally good, the employment was a pleasant one, and his 
temperament not otherwise than hopeful and cheerful, though 
his habits were at times somewhat unsteady. In June of that 
year, his father received a letter from him requesting him 
to come and bring him home, as he had but a short time to 
live. 

His father, supposing he was sick, hastened to him ; but, on 
arriving, found him apparently in usual health. The son 
seemed to be greatly relieved that he had come ; re-iterated 
his wish to return home, and to hasten his departure, because 
on such a day (naming it) he was to die, and was desirous of 
some time in which to make previous arrangements. 

The father, willing to humor what he regarded as a 
strange fancy, but without the slightest apprehension that it 
had any foundation, left Stillwater after a short delay, taking 
his son with him. He stopped in Boston : but the son seemed 
very anxious to hasten his journey; and, as soon as he had 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 135 

transacted some business, he started, and reached home the 
next day. 

Here the son appeared to be in good health ; was cheerful, 
communicative, and calm in his manner and conversation, 
though often reminding them that such a day was to be hie 
last. In the mean time, he was busy making arrangements, 
as if sure that tho term of his life was measured and exti-emely 
brief. 

The time fixed for the event of his death was the night of 
a certain day which he named. During that day, he visited 
and bade adieu to several families in the neighborhood, and 
repaired to various femiliar and favorite spots upon his father's 
form, which he seemed to be looking upon for the last time. 
In the evening he sat with the family, and conversed freely 
and cheerfully with them upon different topics. At the usual 
hour, the family made the customary preparations for retiring ; 
but he urgently requested them not to do so, as he had but a 
few more hours to spend with them. 

They, however, regarded this as a mere idle fancy ; and 
were confident in the belief, that, if he were to fall asleep, he 
would awake in the morning, relieved by finding that he had 
outlived the period suggested in his brain. They accordingly 
urged his retiring ; which he did, occupying a bed with his 
younger brother. The other members of the family also 
retired; but the earnestness of his conviction left so strong 
an impression upon their minds, that they could not readily 
sleep. 

John wished his brother not to fall asleep : but, acting upon 
the prevailing idea of the family, he affected to do so, and 
actually fell into a slumber; and, as he thought, John did 
the same. In a short time, however, he was startled and 
aroused by the peculiar breathing of his brother. He imme- 
diately called the family, who tried in vain to arouse him 
from what they supposed was sleep. It was the convulsive 
; of a dying man ; and at the age of twenty-six, 



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136 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

on the 12th July, 1804, at the very hour which he had more 
than two weeks before told liis father was to be his last, he 
died. 

No cause for this impression or for his death could be 
traced. His health gave no signs of being seriously impaired. 
Nothing indicated that death was occasioned by any thing he 
had taken. It was a mystery which was never solved ; and 
now that every witness of the scene, who could have been 
old enough to know its character, is gone, it would be worse 
than idle to speculate upon theories to explain it. 

I have had occasion to speak of the destruction of tho 
house of Edward Bond, by fire, in 1767. A description of 
this house, and its style of finish, may serve as a sample of 
the houses of the early settlers ; though it had been always 
kept as a public-house, and was undoubtedly erected for one, 
and, consequently, somewhat more elaborate in its character 
than the private dwellings in the neighborhood. 

The house was small, I apprehend, from the description,— 
only a single story in height. There was not a handle upon 
a single door in the house, inside or out. The latch was of 
wood, to which a string was attached ; and, passing through 
a hole in the door, was taken hold of and pulled by any one 
on the outside who wished to raise it in order to enter. This 
contrivance, then universally in use, served as a very simple 
and handy lock; for, by drawing in the latch-string, no out- 
sider could gain admittance except by the aid of some one 
inside of the house. 

In this connection, I shall venture to give, from the nar- 
rative of one who was familiar with the condition of the town 
at the time of this house being destroyed, a description of 
what formed the only village then existing in the town. 

Beginning at the west, near the Town-meadow Brook, on 
the south side of the road, stood a one-story house, which has 
been standing within the recollection of some persons now 
living, and was then occupied by Judge Steele. Next east of 



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HISTORY OF LEICKSTER. IJJT 

that, and on the north aide of the road, was the house of Seth 
Washburn, where Mr. Joseph Denny more recently lived, 
about half-way from Judge Steele's to the Bond Tavern. It 
was one story in height, and consisted of three rooms, — a 
front room, bed-room, and liitchen. Opposite this, the woods 
came up to the road, without any fence along its side ; and the 
children of the family made their play-ground among the trees 
that stood there. The next house east of that was the Bond 
Tavern. Then came the Meeting-house, such as has been 
elsewhere described in this work. Opposite the Meeting- 
house stood an old house, with one room and a shoemaker's 
shop attached to it, in which Deacon Fletcher lived, and car- 
ried on his trade of making and repairing shoes. It was after- 
wards sold to Nathan Waite, who erected a tavern upon the 
spot, which forms a part of the present Tavern House. 

A few rods east of the Meeting-house, at the corner of the 
Training-field, or Common, stood the old schoolhouse wliich I 
have before described, and which was then little better than 
" an old shell." Some twenty or thirty rods to the noi-th-east 
of the schoolhouse stood an old house formerly belonging to 
Mr. Parsons, which was approached by a " lane " leading from 
the Training- field. Ten years later, it was spoken of as 
"the remains of a house." In rear of the Meeting-house 
was the Burying-ground, belonging to the town ; which was 
surrounded by a brush fence, beginning at the north-west 
comer of the Meeting-house, and running around, enclosing it 
from Mr. Parsons's land on the north, and the Training-field 
on the east and south. 

The only house between the Meeting-house and the 
Meeting-house Hill was one at its top, built by Mr. Steb- 
bins, and afterwards owned by Mr. Conklin. Part-way down 
the hill, where a ceilar-hole now remains, upon the north 
side of the road, stood a house owned by Peter Silvester. 
Next east, upon the same side of the road, stood a house 
at the corner of Flip Road, as tho records early called the 



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138 HISTORY OF LEtCESTi;R. 

road that once led from the Great Eoad to Carey Hill. Nearly 
opposite the last-mentioned house was a one-storied " gamhrel- 
roofed " house, which stood upon a high bank on the south 
side of the road, where Beujamin Vickery afterwards lived 
from 1777 till after 1800. 

These balf-dozen houses constituted the entire village, so 
far as it was built upon or near the Great Boad. The present 
house, upon the east side of the Eutland Eoad, half a mile 
from the Meeting-house, was then standing ; and a small house 
upon the South Eoad, about half a mile from the Great 
Eoad, in which Mr, Goddard had lived. Not one of these, it 
is believed, had any paint upon them, inside or out ; and they 
were all of humble dimensions, without any pretensions to 
architectural ornament or proportion. Probably that upon 
the North Eoad, with a front-room, kitchen, and bed-room, 
was quite as imposing in style and magnitude as any of 
these. 

There were one or two appendages to the Common, near 
the Meeting-house, which are not familiar in our day. One 
of these was an immense horse-block, or stone, at each end 
of the Meeting-house, upon which the women mounted in 
order to seat themselves on their side-saddles, or more com- 
monly on pillions behind their husbands or some male mem- 
ber of the family, before the days of carriages. This appen- 
dage had not entirely disappeared, thoxigh it had been mostly 
disused, within the last forty or fifty years. But the other 
appendage, it is believed, had yielded to the progress of civi- 
lization before the commencement of the present century; 
and that was the " public stocks." They were in use for the 
punishment of petty offences ; while those guilty of more seri- 
ous ones were subjected to whipping or the pillory, or brand- 
ing or cropping. They were borrowed from England, and 
have been too often described by writers, from Hudibras to 
M'Fingal, to need any further account of their form or con- 
struction. The last of thoso in Leicester were erected in 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 139 

176S, by Benjamin Tucker, at the cost of t5iirt«cn shillings; 
and stood near the Meeting-house. 

It may not, perhaps, be deemed a matter too minute for a 
purely local hiatorj' like this, to note, so far as I am able to 
ascertain, by whom and when some of the other houses now 
standing were erected. Beginning on Mount Pleasant, the 
house upon the south side of the I'oad was built by CoJ. 
Joseph Henshaw, in 1772, from lumber brought from Boston. 
That on the north side was erected by Mr. John Stickney in 
1789; that at the corner of the Silvester Road, by David 
and Jonathan Trask, about 1811. Their blacksmith-shop 
stood where the brick factory was built by Messrs. James 
and John A. Smith and Co. in 1827. The house opposite this 
was built by Mr. John Hobbs, about 1818, upon the site of an 
ancient house formerly occupied by Judge Steele. The 
gambrel-roofed house, which Deacon Murdock altered and 
enlarged and occupied, was built by Col. Seth Washburn, 
and finished in 1784. It was first occupied by his son-in-law, 
Samuel Sargent. The large house nearly opposite this was 
erected by Col. Joseph D. Sargent. The house now occupied 
by Mr. John Loring was enlarged, and made into a two-story 
structure, by Col. Waehburn, in 1782 ; and was further en- 
larged by Mr. Joseph Denny. Coi. Washburn's blacksmith's 
shop was a little west of this house. The house opposite was 
built by Col. John Worcester about 1804. The building oc- 
cupied by the Leicester Boot Company was built by Joseph 
Denny, for a dwelling-house and card-factory, in 1812; and 
occupied by Harry Ward. The house formerly of Matthew 
Jackson was built by him about 1790: his shoemaker's shop 
stood a little east of it. The house of J. A. Denny, Esq., was 
erected by him in 1838. A part of the factory of Denny and 
Bisco was erected by Earle and Walter, hatters, as a dweJIing- 
house and shop, about 1812. The house next east of that 
was erected by John Wilder, about the same time, for a sad- 
dler's shop ; and the double dwelling-house next to that was 



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140 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

erected by him, for himself and Mrs. Euth Washburn, iD 1814. 
The house opposite this, occupied by Mr. Warren, was erected 
by N. P. Denny, Esq., about 1808. That of J. A. Smith, Esq., 
was erected by Reuben Swan about 1801 ; that opposite to 
it, occupied by Mr. Knowles, was built by Joseph Washburn 
about 1789. Capt. Isaac Southgate built his house in 1826, 
and Capt. Knight his in 1843. Mr. John Whittemore built 
his dwelhng-house, about 1820, upon the site of a sraali house, 
one story iu height, once owned by Martin Rice, whose black- 
smith's shop stood near where Capt. Southgate's house stands. 
The house east of Mr. Whittemore's was built by Capt. Darius 
Cutting in 1789. The two brick dwelling-houses opposite 
the Academy were built by Daniel M'Farland, — one for his 
store, about 1809 or '10 ; and the other for his own dwelling- 
house, in 1813. Nearly opposite these stood a long, low, one- 
story building, before mentioned, which Mr, M'Farland had 
used for a store, which was removed when he erected his 
new store. Next to this was a one-story house, in which Mr. 
Joseph Sargent lived at the time of his death in 1784, but 
Jiad disappeared before the store was removed. East of this, 
Dr. Austin Mint erected his house in 1784: it was removed 
by Mr. Joshua Clapp to give place to the much more impos- 
ing structure which he erected in 1832-3. The two houses 
opposite this were erected by Roswell Sprague — one for a 
card factory and store, the other for a dwelling-house- — about 
the same time that the house of Mr. M'Farland was erected. 
Dr. Edward Flint erected the house in which he lives about 
1820. That in which Mr. John Woodcock lives was built by 
Waldo Flint, Esq., in 1830; and that next to it was erected 
by Alpheus Smith, for a card factory, about 1813. Dr. Nel- 
son built his cottage in 1828. 

From fear, however, of being wearisome, I will only add, that 
a man now of the age of sixty years might readily recall the 
village when the whole number of its dwelling-houses would 
not have exceeded twenty ; when there was no house upon 



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HISTOaY OF LEICESTElt. 141 

the south aide of the rond east of Col. Denny's ; when there 
was none between Col, Worcester's and Mr. Moore's ; when 
the only buildings between Capt. Cutting's and the Charlton 
Road were the small house I have spoken of, where Mr. 
Whittemore's house stands ; the blacksmith-shop above men- 
tioned ; another little shop west of it, with a single room, in 
which Mr. Denny at one time kept his law-office ; and a small, 
low building, at the corner of the Charlton Eoad, in which 
Widow Dunbar carried on her trade as a tailoress. At that 
time, I apprehend there was not a single house upon the 
south, or Charlton Road between the Great Eoad and Mr. 
Richard Bond's. 

MISCm.LANEOUS. 

The local history of the town would be incomplete if I 
failed to notice some of those personal institutions, which, in 
the progress of the age, have become obsolete, though once 
forming an important element in its social structure. 

I have spoken of the substitution of machinery for the 
simpler implements of domestic manufacture, — the spinning- 
wheel and the loom. With these has disappeared a class 
of labor to which the families of the town resorted, to a 
greater or less extent, to aid the housewife in working up the 
wool, flax, and tow, which had been raised upon the farm, 
into bed and other linen and clothing for the family. 

There were in most of the country towns more or less of 
these useful personages, who went from one family to another 
to " do up " their spinning. The implement chiefly in use 
was the large apiiming-wheel, whose hum, now no longer 
heard, was familiar to the ear of every household of that 
day. The last of this class in Leicester was Sally Bradish ; 
and as a representative of a race, which, like the Dodo among 
the birds, has disappeared, never to fee revived, she deserves 
to be preserved as an historical personage. 

The records of the town furnish no clue to her age ; but 



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142 HISTORY OK LKICESTER. 

she was obviously on tho shady side of forty. She had breadth 
enough to have been a Juno ; but from having worn off her 
nether extremities by following her thread back and forth so 
many years, or from some other cause, her height would not 
justify the comparison. What her beauty might once have 
been, this history does not go back far enough to determine. 
When he, who is now to be her chronicler, first saw her round, 
good-natured fece, furrowed here and there by a deep wrinkle, 
it had been so often twisted into shapes to fit the expression 
of countenance suited to the actors in the stories she was 
accustomed to tell, that it was difficult to infer what had been 
its original configuration. Her annual revolution to that point 
in her orbit — ■ where, like a comet, she was visible for a few 
weeks at a time — was an event of no inconsiderable moment. 
To see her in her glory, however, one must have followed 
the hum of her wheel into some back chamber heated to a 
summer glow, or the more spacious precincts of the kitchen, 
where she plied her task, and sat and listened in the gloam- 
ing of the evening, lighted only by a bright fire on the 
hearth, to the songs she used to sing as she paced backwards 
and forwards, and gave her wheel a fresh buzz and a louder 
hum at each return ; or gathered around the hearth of glow- 
ing coals, after her day's work had been " reeled off," and she 
was at liberty to luxuriate in some of the exhaustless supply 
of stories she possessed, of witches, ghosts, robbers, and 
Indians, with an occasional interlude showing the fiite of 
some faithless swain, or the crowning recompense of con- 
stancy and love. 

Sally was an undouhting believer in witches and ghosts, 
omens and warnings ; and was possessed of a perfect ency- 
clopaedia of facts, known to herself to be true, which she 
detailed with great circumstantiality, when her clue i-un in 
that direction. And so deep and vivid were the impressions 
made on her groups of listeners, that I have no doubt, though 
nearly threescore years have passed by, were a ghost to show 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 143 

itself to any one of that number, it would be recognized at 
once as an old and familiar acquaintance. 

Sometimes her fancy took a fecetious turn ; and then the 
manner in which she put her face into forma to suit the action 
of her atory, seen in the dimly reiiected light of the fading 
jfire, was as irresistible for mirth as her ghosts were for 
terror. 

She was, I believe, the only Methodist in the town till I 
was full grown; and the tunes with which she regaled the 
hstenera as well as herself, in her devotional frames of mind, 
uttered with a peculiar emphasis and tone, with which she 
poured out verse after verse of her favorite hymns of inter- 
minable length, have not yet lost their echo on the ear. 

But this was not the only field for her genius. The tea^ 
table, when the older members of the family were gathered 
around it, fiimished new topics of equal interest and impor- 
tance. She was a perfect budget of the gossip and news of 
the town. She was an entire believer in the power of fore- 
telling events; and could read, in the tea-grounds in her 
neighbor's cup, the future, especially so far as it related to 
funerals, weddings, and riding in coaches. In this round of 
duties, toils, and pleasures, Sally was entirely content, nor 
ever dreamed that anybody was plotting to impair her use- 
fulness or importance. But the power-loom and the spinning, 
jenny came, and they found Salty in the wane of life. It 
required no ghost or omen to foretell the fate of the old- 
fashioned spinning-wheel, and, with it, the old-feshioned spin- 
sters who had gladdened the hearts of the children of many a 
neighborhood, while they supplied the yarns that were to be 
wrought into stockings and jackets for their outside comfort. 

Here and there may be found in some old garret a spinning- 
wheel, which creaks, instead of hums, when it is turned ; but 
no page records, no stone marks the spot, where the last 
spinner of Leicester was laid, by the hand of charity, in her 
final resting-place. 



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144 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

The revolution of public sentiment upon the subject of 
popular education has converted another of the former social 
institutions of towns into a matter of history ; and that ia 
the natural " school-mams," — they who, without ever having 
heard of a normal school or of the machinery now in use for 
fitting men and women to teach the uneducated, contrived by 
their own mother-wit, and an intuitive power of guiding and 
developing young minds, to attain to the highest art of the 
teacher. Every town had its " aunt " this or that, who had 
the training of successive generations, and coaxed and urged 
the lagging powers of the grandchild, just as she had done the 
once curly-headed urchin, who, as a venerable grandfathei', 
had long aince outgrown being her contemporary. 

Leicester had her " Aunt Hannah, " — she was everybody's 
aunt, — who exercised too marked an influence, in shaping the 
moral and intellectual character of its rising generations, to 
be silently passed over in a history of its social condition. 
She could have counted her pupils by thousands, and found 
them in almost every rank, condition, and employment in 
life. Merchants, physicians, lawyers, ministers, and women 
who have been the honored wives and mothers of the great 
and useful men of the land, were, at one time ox another, her 
pupils ; and would have bonie testimony to her skill, fidehty, 
and success in the life-business of primary education. 

What w^ the secret of her power and success, a stranger 
could never have understood. She was unconscious of it 
herself. But she had a power to which every child instinc- 
tively yielded as to that of a superior being. It was not the 
attraction of beauty or grace, or the over-awing of her pupils 
by any display of dignity or command. 

" Aunt Hannah " was by no means a beauty. She was tall, 
muscular, and awkward. Her voice, though not harsh, had 
but little music in its tones ; and her exterior, as a whole, indi- 
cated what was true, — that she had a good supply of the ele- 
ments of masculine strength in her physical as well as intel- 



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HISTORY in- LEK.'EMTER. 145 

lectual composition. But, though the casket was a rough one, 
it contained the jewel of one of the kindest and softest hearts 
that ever looked into the loving face of a child, and gave 
back the sympathy of a kindred affection. If the children of 
her school looked upon her with something like awe the first 
half-day of their attendance, they had forgotten the next 
day that she was plain ; and, before a week was out, she had 
grown into a standard of grace and beauty, as well as the 
embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. The whole secret 
of her success lay in this, -^ her heart was in the work; and 
the enthusiasm of her own nature infused itself into that 
of the children, who were beguiled into learning the dullest 
lesson by the pleasure they were thereby giving to one whose 
approbation was the highest of rewards. Men may talk about 
the genius of the poet and of the painter, as well as that 
of the orator and the mechanician. If there is any calling or 
department of life in which genius manifests itself in a pecu- 
liar and unmistakable form, it is in that of " keeping school." 
The circumstances of the schools in the several towns, and 
the demand for competent teachers, formerly served to de- 
velop this genius where it existed ; and, when developed, its 
fruits were seen in the improved condition of successive gone- 
rations within the region where it had been exerted. Such 
were the character and qualifications of the humble individual 
of whom I am speaking ; and there is here and there one who 
stiil lives to remember what he owes of his after-success in 
life to the impressions, he received from her influence and 
early teachings. 

It is the life of such an individual that serves to show the 
springs of action which give motion to society, while they 
lie hid from the eye of casual observers; and while we 
speak of the patriotic devotion of the men of a former gene- 
ration, in the struggle of a nation for political freedom, it 
would be doing injustice to our subject, had we forgotten the 
devoted labors of those of the same generation, and educated 



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l-i6 lltSTORY or LEICESTER. 

in the same school of hardship and difficiilty, who, in teach- 
ing little children their duty to God aad the world, were 
fitting a generation to take its place among the actors on 
the stage of life, upon whose character and energy the main- 
tenance of til© social fabric was to depend. 

The changes in the fashions and social habits of a people 
are so constantly going on, and yet are so gradual, that it is 
only by contrasting periods somewhat remote from each other 
that the differences are perceptible to an ordinary obsei-ver ; 
and whoever undertakes to record these is generally at a 
loss when he goes behind the memory of hving persons for 
his facts, as few think of noting down what is passing on, 
every day, around them. And yet no histoiy of one of these 
little communities could be complete which should omit these 
altogether. 

Every age has about the same tastes and passions to he 
supplied and gratified, although the form in which this is 
done varies most essentially at different periods. Our fathers 
sought their amusements at home, and within their own 
neighborhoods, far more than is done in our day. A visit to 
the city was an event of a life ; and, as for watering-places and 
pleasure-excursions to a distance, they had not found a place 
in their vocabulary. Lyceimis and lectures and societies of 
a hundred sorts, to reform everybody and every thing, and 
give employment and pay to a set of agents who thrive upon 
strife and excitement, had never then been dreamed of. 

Many of their social gatherings partook of the useful as 
well as the pleasant. They joined together to help their 
neighbor to husk his com, or raise the frame of his build- 
ing; or the good housewives gave up an afternoon, every 
now and then, to the giiUting of a covering for a bed for a 
neighboring housewife. 

They made these and similar meetings occasions of pleasure 
and amusement to both young and old, and not unfreqoently 
for both sexes. Not that the women did much of the work 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. H7 

of stripping the husks from the ears of corn, nor that the 
men understood the knack of laying stitches in fantastic lines 
in a bed-quilt ; but it was an easy thing to find sources of 
amusement, if not of usefiil employment, when once together. 
And a walk home under the light of the broad harvest-moon 
had its poetry in that day, though they had never read Bryant 
or Longfellow. They had balls too, — not where they went 
at eight or nine o'clock, and got home in the small hours 
after midnight; but where they went in broad daylight, in 
the middle of the afternoon, and staid till broad daylight of 
the next morning : not whirling and shuffling in dizzy waltiaes 
or indescribable polkas or schottisches, to the music of a 
regimental band; but luxuriating in sober reels, and good, 
honest " country dances," at the inspiration of a fiddle, and, 
perchance, a bass-viol or a tambourine as an accompaniment. 

Though, as is elsewhere remarked, in the progress of lux- 
ury, in the absence of ail carriages, it became better ton 
to substitute a second horse for a pillion, the more common 
mode of transportation to balls and merry-makings, as well as 
meetings of a Sunday, was by the lady seating herself upon a 
pillion behind the gentleman who attended her.* 

Athletic exercises too, among the men, especially the young 
and middle-aged, were commonly practised at all gatherings 
for social labor or amusements ; and the championship of the 



* Aeoidenls would liappan in the prooessee of locomotion, even in thosa days of 
primitive aimplioity of conveyance ; (hongli the luxury of being smaslied up, a doaen 
at a time, was reserved to onr own days of railroads. I may, perhaps, be pardoned 
for narrating here an incident of this kind, wMch was related to me by an eye-witness, 
iu which Mr. R. and Miss S. partioipatBd. Several of the houses in Cherry Valley stand 
80 high, that they have a steep bank between them and the road. Mr. H. called at one 
of these, prepared to give Miss S. an airing on horseback. The animal was rather 
small, the lady of goodly size, and the gentleman no pigmy. Standing upon the bank 
wall in front of the honae, the lady seated herself hehuid the gentleman, and the litHe 
horse made a desperate effort to starti but the load being unequally balanced, and the 
bank Bteep, his legs upon the lower side gave way undei- the weight; and the couse- 
quence was, that the horse and his ridep! rolled down the bank hito the road together. 
Fortunately, no serious harm followed; and a better starting-point mas selected tlie 



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148 niSTOKV Ol' I.KICKSTKil. 

wreatling-ring was an honor which could be gained or hold 
only by a decided pre-eminence in muscle and skill. 

It has been customary, occasionally, for the people of the 
town to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of 
independence by orations, public dinners, and f 
amount of patriotic uproar. There has been a 
exhibition of the latter, since the days of punch before .dinner 
and wine after, than formerly ; though, taking the average 
patriotism of a given number of days, including the " glorious 
Fourth," the balance is believed by many to be quite in favor 
of the modern mode of observing this great national holiday. 

The last considerable demonstration upon such an occasion 
was in 1849 ; when, in pursuance of an invitation, of which 
a copy is appended,* there was a large attendance of the 
people of the ancient town ; and many from distant homes 
came back to indulge in the pleasant memories of the past, 
while they renewed the ties that bound them to a spot once 
dear to them. The Hon, James Draper presided. Four were 
present who had taken part as soldiers in the scenes of the 
Eevolution. One of them was Mr. Craige, who had been in 
the battle of the 17th June, '75. Dr. Fhnt was too ill to 



DhAr Sir, — The ami.em of tlie towns of Leicester, Spenoer, and Paxton, with a 
portion of Auburn, whieh were originally incorporated in ouB town under the name 
of LsicBBtBr, propoaa to unite iu a celebration of the euBulng Fourth of .Tuly in the 
present town of Leicester; for the pnrpose, prinoipally, of refreshing our minds by the 
early remlnlsoenoes of our history, and reealling the intereslJng bybuIs of the Revolu- 
tionary War, and the part which tlie citizens of these towns, then acting togothBr, 
took in achieving our Independence, and laying the foundation of onr presBnt form of 

ThB Hon. Emory Washburn, a descendant of this town, but now a resident of 
Lowell, will deliver an historical address in tlie First Congregational MBating-house in 
Leicester, at half-past ten o'docit, a.m., on that day. 

A dinner will be providfid for such ladies and gentlemon as may be present on ths 
occasion, at as low a price as can be affoi-ded. 

To increase the iuterestof tbiscelebvation.it is to be hoped that many of the absent 
sons and daughters of tho towns onco composing this distjHet will return on that day 
to join in Its festivities, and review, with their iWends and relatives here, the interest- 
ing events of past times. 

The Committee of AiTangements hereby invila you, with your family, to be 



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HISTORY OF LElCEti'J 



149 



be present.* The day waa fine ; no accident detracted from 
the pleasure of the gathering ; and after a bountiful dinner, 
a variety of patriotic sentiments and interesting speeches 
from sundry gentlemen, the assembly separated with a feel- 
ing that the memory of the fathers ought not to be lost. 

Instead of attempting to give, in this place, an original 
account of the celebration, I have preferred to copy from a 
newspaper article of the day the detailed statement, which 
was prepared by one who took a very active part in the 
arrangements for the occasion, and whose aid in the present 
work I have more than once acknowledged. As an incident 
in the local history of the town, it is hoped it will not be 
I too unimportant or minute for insertion. 



mSTOEICAL CELBBEATION AT LETCE^TElt. 



Mr. Editok, — 1 
yet been given of th 



ig tliiit a more particular account than das 
recent celebration of'tlie Fourth in this place, by 



present with us on that day; and, for the purpose of i 
what preparations may l>e neoesaary tor the aocommc 
you, if it is GonvaniBnt for yon to attend, to notity i 
as the (roeniieft day of Jime next, by addressing yoar 
Esq., Postmaster, Leicester, Mass. 

Respectfully ynurs, 



icertaining as nearly as poesiUe 
lation of our friends, wa request 
5, by mail or otherwise, as early 
:ommu nidation to John Snrgent, 



Edwi 



1 Flini 



John Sar^eut, 

Jos. D. Sargent, 
Sewftll Sareent, 
Horace Knight, 
Samuel Watson, 
John Woodcocli, 
Seubeii S, Denny, 
Henry E. Warren, 
John'Sing, 
H. G. Henshaw, 
Silas Glenson, 
Joseph Whittamore, 
Hiram Knight, 
Joshaa Lnmb, 
BilluigE Swan, 

Leiceilei: 
e Asahel Matthews, Joel Hoi 



HaiTey Prouty, 
William Baldwin, 
Jaremiah Grout, 
William Henshaii 
Geo. W. Morse, 
Alonao Temple, 



Geo. S. Lakin, 
Simeon Anthony, 
Darid Banington, 
Solon G. Howe, 
David Manning, 



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150 HISTORY OK LEICESTER, 

the united towns of Spencer, Paxton, Auburn, and Leicester (onpe 
composing the original town of Leicester), miglit be interesting to the 
hundreds of absent sons and daughlers of those towns who were unable 
to be present on the occasion, 1 send jou a sketch of the transactions 
of that interesting day. 

A circular having previously been sent out to the former residents 
of these tewns to meet together on that occasion, " for the purpose of 
refreshing their minds by the early reminiscences of their history, 
recalling the interesting events of the Revolutionary War, and the 
part which the citizens of these towns, then acting together, took in 
acliieving our independence, and laying the foundation of our present 
form of government," the quiet village of Leicester, where the cele- 
bration was to talte place, was enlivened during the previous day 
and evening by the arrival, from various quarters of the land, of the 
friends and relatives of its present citizens, aad the absent sons and 
daughters of the town from a distance ; and the many happy meetings 
which took place among former friends and acquaintances were only a 
pi-elude to the enjoymenls of the following day. 

The morning of the Fourth, which was bi-ight and beautiful, waa 
ushered in by the ringing of bells, and the discharge of a national 
salute on the Common. Tlie refreshing showers in the early part of 
the week had prepared for us just such a day as would have been 
chosen for the occasion; and, previous to the hour assigned for the 
services, the gathering throng from the neighboring towns manifested 
the deep interest they felt in this novel celebration of our nation's 
birthday. 

At about ten o'clock, a long procession of the citizens of Spencer 
in carriages, preceded by their Fire-engine Company in tiill unifonn, 
with an elegant engine drawn by two horses, were met on their way, 
and escorted into the village by Ihe Leicester Fire-engine Company, 
accompanied by the Northbridge Band, which, by its rich music, en- 
livened the performances of the day. 

At half-past ten, a.m., the multitude assembled at the grove, — about 
eighty rods south-west of the Common, — where seats were prepared 
to accommodate two thousand persons, which were all filled ; and some 
hundreds of others stood around, and sat in carriages near the stand 
erected for the orator of the day. 

Music from the band announced the time for the commencement of 
the services, which were introduced by an earnest and appropriate 
prayer from the Rev. Dr. Nelson, the venerable minister, who has 



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HISTORY Of LEICESTER. 151 

for neurly forty years past been settled over the First Congregational 
Sooiety in tliis place. 

The following hymn, by Henky S. Washbukn, Esq., of Worcester, 
was then sung by the audience, to the tune of Old Hundred: — 

Wc gather, fram a thousand homea, 

Around the old ancestral tree. 
From rural vales and city domes, 

The favored children of the free. 

We tread in olden paths to-day ; 

We muse on hallowed memories here ; 
And linger fondly hy the way 

With friends we've missed for many a year. 

And spirits of the just and true, 

Of men who spurned the tyrant's power. 

Whose names are fiagrant as the dew, — 
They, too, are with ^xa at this hour. 

Their graves are with us, green aud f«r j 

The cold sod lies upon their breasts ; 
And Freedom breathes no holier air 

Than where the patriot sweetJy rests. 

And, Father, while with filial love 

We kneel around this ancient shrine, 
Oh, may thy Spirit from above 

Eenew and sanctify us thine ! 

And, strengthened by these rites to-day 

For harder toil, for sterner strife. 
May we press on Life's checkered way 

Till we have won the crown of life ! 

Of the oiitioQ bj Hon Emory "WisHBUHN we shiU Utempf no 
deaciiption Its subject was, in accordance with the design of tlie 
celebration, a history of the part which oui citizens look in the events 
ot the Ee\olutioniiy War, ind the intense inteiest with whuh the 
audience hatened during the hour and a halt occupti'd Ij the oialoi 
gave stiong evidtnce of the power of hi^ eioquence and the mteiest of 
Lis details 

We trust that in accoi Knee with a ic]u st d tie hen 11 this 
interPsting addics will he gnen to thL publ 



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lay HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

During the delivery of t!ie address, quite a sensation was produced 
in tiie audience by tlie arrival of the venerable Lieut. Nathan Ci-aige 
from Spencer, the only survivor of the Leicester Minute Company ; 
who was in the battle of Bunker Hill, in the company of Capt. Seth 
Washburn ; and who now, at tlie age of ninety-five, was introduced to 
the assembly by the President of the day. On the same platform also 
sat three other venerable Eevolutionary soldiers belonging to the 
original town of Leicester. 

After the services at the Grove, a procession was formed, under the 
direction of Henky A. Denny, Esq., Chief-Marehal, and escorted by 
the fire companies, and band of music, to the table, which was spread 
under a spacious tent on the Common. 

Among the flags that were floating around this spot was one erected 
by the students of Leicester Academy, and surmounting the cupola of 
that venerable inatitution ; beai'ing as its motto, Liberlas et Doclrina 
sorores germante. 

Of the dinner, which was provided by John Wright, Esq., of Bos- 
ton, it is but justice to eay, that every thing was armnged in the most 
perfect order, and in a style unequalled by any pubhc table we have 
ever before seen. 

The bountiful bill of fare, tastefully arranged, was apparently satis- 
factory to every guest; and, what was somewhat remarkable in so 
extensive a celebration, every seat was occupied, and every one who 
desired a seat was provided for. Between nine and ten hundred per- 
sons of both sexes partook of the dinner. 

During the three or four houra which passed at the table, the most 
perfect order prevailed, while a general hilarity seemed to pervade the 
company. Not a gun was heai-d in the village around, not a cheer 
was raised, with one exception, throughout the tent, during their lorig 
sitting ; and the only demonstration of applause which followed the 
many toasts, poems, speeches, and songs, which were said and sung by 
the assembled multitude, were the clapping of hands and the sup- 
pressed laughter of the guests. 

The order and decorum which prevailed throughout the day was 
worthy of remark, as showing the favorable change for a few years past 
in the celebration of this anniversary, by the banishment of wine, and 
the introduction of our wives and daughters to the festivities of ihe 



The Hon. James Deapeh of Spencer presided at the table, assisted 
by five vice-presidents; and among the many toasts which were rend, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 153 

and fhe many more wliich were omitted for want of time, a few only 

" The Massaehusetis Delegation in Congress. — Though they have cut down 
her proportion from an eighihta less than a tiveiity-second pai't, they will find 
that Maasaehusetts can be, and will be, the Old Bay State still." 

This sentiment called up the Hon. Charles Allen, who, in his usual 
feliiatous manner, interested the audience by his appropi'iat* remarks, 
and, in conclusion, offered the following sentiment : — 

" The Fathers of the Bevolutionary Age. — Lining for the future, they live 
in that future. May the priceless inheritance acquired by their privations and 
sacrifices be augmented and enriched by each succeeding generation ! " 

" The Clergy of New England. — They rendered their country good service 
in times that tried men's souls. May they ever be fouiKl at the post of duty, 

To this sentiment, Rev. Dr. Nelson, tlie Chaplain of the day, re- 
sponded in a iew interesting remarks. 

" The Oraioroffke Bay, — who, improving upon the liberality exhibited 
by his honored ancestor * on Charleatown Neck, has not only permitted us to 
' go back,' but has actually led us hack, to the beginning of our history." 

" Worcester. — When a plain cowatry matron, she lent our fathers muskets 
in the War of Independence, which spoke well if they were only charged 
■well. Now that she is a city lady, she has done better. She has lent us men 
to help celebrate that independence, who not only can speah well, but are 
aheays well ohairged." 

This sentiment called up his Honor the Mayor of our neighborinf 
city, Henry Chapin, Esq., who, as usual, was not only charged, but 
primed, and went off, with a speech full of wit, fun, and poetry, which 
kept his audience in a roar of laughter, and ieft them all in great good- 
humor. He closed with offering the following sentiment : — 

" The Scattered Families of the Tribe of Leicester. — Whether they dwell 
on hill-top or in valley, may peace be their offeiing, plenty their inheritance, 
and virtue the crowning glory of their character ! " 



* Cnpt. Seth Washbnin of LPio>i-ter,gnniifitli.-i of Judge Wiislibuni, while crossing 
arleatowii Neck to Bunkei Hill on the raamoiahle 17tli of June, '76, exposed to 
1 rakiiij! fire of tlia Biitiah, halted In? company, and gave leave to any one, wbo 
we, TU GO HACK. Not a min in the oompanv accepted the offer. 



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154 HISTORY or LEICKSTER. 

The following song, written for the occasion by Henet S. Wash- 
burn, Esq., was then song by the Glee Club ; — 

"fwas pleasant, in tie ancient days, 

To gather snugly round 
The fli'eside, in a merry mood, 

And let the nuts abound. 
The nuts and cider, gentlemen, — 

Ye well remember how 
They disappeared before the ken 

Of some who are with us now. 

But such refreshments, gentlemen, 

We bring you not to-day ; 
For nuts and cider, as you know. 

Have long since passed away. 
But as the cup flows merrily, 

With sparkling waters bright. 
Well gently hint, our boai'ds are spread 

A little nearer Wright. 

Our mothers, too — in olden times 

They had their quiltiiig-beea ; 
But little thought that they should live 

To see such times as these. 
Nor did we dream, a year ago, 

That friends so far away 
Would bring their wives and children liere 

To dine with us to-day. 

Then let the song flow merrily, 

Ajid heart with heart commune ; 
'Tis very easy now to sing 

In almost any tune. 
And very long this partial hour 

Will memory retain ; 
And often shall we breathe a wish 

To meet you here again. 

" Ow ForefatJiers, whose chai'acters have been so graphically portrayed 
this day : their sepulchres are with us. May their rigid adherence to civil 
and religious freedom be embalmed in the hearts of a gi-ateful posterity ! " 

" Our Patriotic Chmdmoikers of 'IS. — Although they could not cause the 
sun and moon to stand still, yet, by convening their clock-weights into bul- 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 155 

lets, they did what they could to cause time to stop, until their sons had 
' ayenged themselves upon their enemies.' " • 

" Listd. Nathan Oraige, our veneealile Quest, who in his youth, like 
Cinoinnatus, left his plough to serve his country. Like that worthy old Ra- 
man, he ia permitted, after a long and virtuous life, to spend the evening of 
his days in the peacefiil enjoyment of a quiet home, a good conscience, and 
the respect of a grateful community." 

" TheLadies. — Crowns of our rejoicing- in prosperity ; angels of consola- 
tion in adversity : Without them, the earth would be a desolation ; with them, 
it may become a paradise," 

The following song, by Hon. Charles Thdebei:, was sung by tlie 
audience in the tune of Auld Lang Syna : — 

With buoyant hearts and merry feet, 

The young go out to roam ; 
£ut, ah ! 'tis bliss again to meet 

Within the bowers of home. 
How sweet to think we've come away, 

From Business' giddy whirls. 
With such a host of boys to-day, 

And such a lot of girls 1 

Old Mrs. Leicester, t'other day. 

Was thinking at her home 
About her children far away. 

And wrote to have them come ; 
And so, this mom, witli mei'iy voice. 

And proud as any earls. 
There came a host of Leicester boys, 

And lots of Leicester girls. 

The cannon roared, that proudly tella 

The brave are on the way ; 
The bells were rung to show that belles 

Are " all the go " to-day. 
No soimd is heard but Freedom's voice, 

No flag but hers unfurls, 
llidst such a host of Freedom's boys. 

And such a lot of girls. 

■e marching out lo Lexington and Concord, 
Postmaster, during tlie brief lionr in whlcli 
join tha psfriot forces, took off lier clock- 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER, 

Not. those alone to-day we view, 

We used to greet before ; 
For many a one is changed to two, 

And many a two to — more. 
So Leicester, like Cornelia, stands. 

And calls her children pearls ; 
While o'er her boys she waves her hands, 

And also o'er her giils. 

Old bachelors enjoy the scene, 

Who nevec laughed before ; 
And simpering girls, but just sixteen, 

For forty years and more : 
The smiles around their faces play, 

The zephyrs round their ourls; 
For here are hosts of boys to-day, 

And lots of meny girls. 

The farmer lets his weary team 

O'er hill and valley stray ; 
The frugal housewife leaves her cream 

To churn another day. 
We have no time for such employs ; 

We're prouder now than earls ; 
For here are almost all the boys, 

And nearly all the girls. 

The merchant puts his ledger back ; 

The hanker locks his chest ; 
The doctor drops hie ipecac. 

And lets the vieaij rest : 
For Care may find no harbor near, 

Where Freedom's flag unfurls ; 
For almost all the boys are here. 

And nearly all the giils. 

The anxious lawyer, bniised and scarred 

By many a legal thump, 
And boys that nicely work the card 

Till cash becomes the trump. 
Have come to-day to taste of joys 

That rival all the world's, 
Amidst a host of Leicester boys. 

And lots of Lejcestei' girls. 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. lo ) 

The parson from his sermon comes, 

With Freedom's spirit gay ; 
And e'en the Judge has left hia looms, 

To spin our yarn to-day. 
Oh ! such the time, and sueh the cheer, 

And such the string of pearls ! — 
Why, almost all the boys are here, 

And nearly all the girls. 

And, while the hours go menily, 

A prayer shall end the lay : 
May Madam Leicester ever be 

As happy as to-day ! 
And, when the ransomed spirits wear 

Their glorious crowns of pearls, 
May a!! the Leicester boys be there. 

And all the Leicester girls ! 

By the President of fhe day : — 

"The First Seitleis of Leieeslei: ~-'T\i&y hadaffini/andan Earl; yet they 
had respect to no other nobility than that of the soul. They had one Frier ; 
hut they abjured the Fope and his doctrine. With a Sargeani to aid in 
driving out the enemy, and two Souihgateg to shut him out ; with their Den- 
nys, their Henshaws, their Greens, and ' John Smith,' . — they proved them- 
selves efficient pioneers for establishing a new settlement." 

By Ahos Warren, Esq., of Woodstock, Vt : — 

" LeiceHer, our Early Some. — Though progress is the rallying-word 
of the times, and onward and forward the labor of the Tiead and the 7iands; 
yet the heart cails us hackioard, and the pilgrim of nearly a half- century's 
absence iiiids his youth renewed in the homes and hauuts of his childhood." 

The following glee, contributed by a frieud, was also sung by the 
Glee ClLib; — 

Come to this festal board, 
Ye who have wandered long. 
Ye old friends tried and true ; 
Oh! come in a phalamt strong. 
Not often thus we mingle 
In Life's uncertain way ; 
Not often thus we gather 
As we have met to-day. 



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158 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Come to this festal board. 
Ye who have wandered long, 
Ye old friends tried and true ; 
Oh ! come in a phalanx strocg. 

Come, come, come. 
Come to this festal board ; 
With kindred hearts draw near ; 
Come to this feast of love, 
With a hearty welcome here. 
Oh! many a weary hour 
Shall we tread Life's rugged way, 
Ere we shall meet again 
As we have met to-day. 
Come, come, come, 
Come to this festal board ; 
With kindred heaits draw near j 
Corae to this feast of love. 
With a hearty welcome here. 

By John Tartridge, Esq., Paxton : — 

" The, Seeds nftlie Amerirun Bn'^idut'iin, sown broadcast over Europe.—. 
May all tho nations of that continent soon be able to sitig the Ilai'vest 

By ABRAHiM FiETH, E'iij. : — 

" TJte Permatteni Besidents of the Tomn. — May their private and public 
virtues be so pre-eminent, that the sons of Leicester everywhere, and in all 
time, may never feel ashamed of theii biithplaco ! " 

By a Citizen ; — 

" Our Fire-engine Gompanies, the minu/e-men of modern times. — Like 
their Revolutionary fathers, they conquer the enemy by the use of their 



By a Fireman : — 

" Tie Ladies, — Their eyes kindle the only flame w 
and which our arms cannot conquer." 

By Samuel Allen, Esq. : — 
" The Memory of the late Got Wiliiam Henshaw, - 
and without reproach." 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. luy 

By H. G. Henshaw, Esq, r — 

" The Memory of the late Hon. Josaph Allen, once a pramiiipnt and fa- 
vorite citizen of Leicester. — His memory is ' fragrant as the dew.' " 

Among t[:e sentiments received from our absent friends were the 
following: — 

By Andrew H. Ward, Esq., Newton : — 

" The Town, of Leicester, the home of our ancestors. — While hei ftirm 
lias decreased, her c/iUdren Ttave increased. When we visit the hearth'Jtone 
again on a like occasion, may we, as now, find her Sargeants in the line of 
promotion, her Flints well picked, Kings and Knights among her sons, her 
Woodeoclcs and Swans unmolested by sportsmen, and herself choice of her 
Lamhs !" 

By lion. Waldo Flint, Boston r — 

" Our Ancestors of the Revohdion. — We shall prove ourselves ungrateful 
sons, and unworthy of the blessings we inherit, if we ever fail to rise up and 
call them blessed." 

By Hon. Nathan Sakqeant, Washington, D.C. ; — 

" The School-houses and the Meeting-hottses of New England, — the 
brightest jewels in her diadem." 

By Key. George Allbn: — 

"Liberty, the right of all. — God speed to all the fruilionoi that right ! " 

Among the speakers at the table was Hon. Joseph Sprague, 
Ex-Mayor of Brooklyn, N.Y. ; who, in responding to a sentiment, gave 
some sketches of the eampaign on Long Island, during the Eevoln- 
tiouaiy War, while our troops were stationed there. 

Letters and sentiments wei'e reeeivedfrom many invired guests who 
were unable to be pi-esent ; some of which were read, but many were 
necessarily omitted. They showed, however, the deep interest felt by 
all the descendants of the place in the object of the celebration. 

Among the interesting events of the day was the welcome meeting, 
at this table, of many former friends, and the greeting of those who had 
for many years been separated, and had now again come together from 
all parts of the country to renew their acquaintance, and, perhaps for 
tlie last time, to look upon the associates of their childhood. 

Many a hearty welcome was exchanged, and many a silent tear was 
shed, as the guests moved about from friend to friend during the 
time occupied by the speakers at the table. 



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160 HISTORl 01 LLKlSiLH 

From our citie-. and towns came totfether the 1o\p(1 anil honored 
eons of old LeiLSstei, some with giaj hdirs, who went out tiom ua in 
early youth, and we weie pleased to see imong the happy gioup 
many who left us in eaiiy life, penniless aud alone, to seek their for- 
tune in other climes, return vfith their families to \iait us on this occa- 
sion, htessed with piospenty, and enjoying the fruits of their industry 
and enterprise 

Long will the fathers and mothers, the sons and daughters, of old 
Leicestei, lemember thin happy meeting, and the inteiesting incidents 
which occuri-ed on the occasion; and may the success which attended 
our etibrts in this novel and intei-esting enterprise be the cause of many 
such happy gatlierings of the descendants of the Pilgrims, in yeui-s to 
come, on the hills and in the valleys of Kew England ! 

Leicester, July 10, 1849. 

In Washington's diary, recently published, he speaks of the 
towns he passed through, and the places at which he stopped, 
on bis journey to Boston. He spent the night of the 22d Oc- 
tober, 1789, at Mr. Jenks'a tavern, in Spencer. On Friday, the 
23d, " we commenced our course with the sun ; and, passing 
through Leicester, met some gentlemen of the town of Worces- 
ter, on the line between it and the former, to escort us." 

The circumstance is also noticed in the diary of a citizen of 
Leicester, now before me ; and was long recalled as a memo- 
rable event, although there does not appear to have been any 
public demonstration on the part of the town. A scarcely 
less interesting occurrence of the kind was the passing through 
the south part of the town, by Gen. La Fayette, Sept. 3, 1824. 
The people crowded to gi-eet him ; and all along the road- 
side, and at ©very village, they were seen cheering him 
with shouts and the waving of hats and handkerchiefs ; and, 
wherever he stopped, his carriage was surrounded by peo- 
ple pressing for a chance to shake the hand of this early and 
noble friend of America. He was attended by a troop of 
horse, and an escort of carriages, military officers, citizens, 
&c.,- — the free ovation of a grateful people. 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



CEMETERIES. 



While we are thus indulging in the recollection of what 
men did, and where they lived, while filling up the incidents 
of the local history of the town, we ought not to pass unno- 
ticed the spots where they are reposing, — the cemeteries of 
the town. As a test and standard of refined sentiment in 
selecting and adorning the last resting-place of the dead, the 
early cemeteries of this town, like those all over New England 
at the time, would be of the most humble pretension. In- 
deed, there have been few more decided marks of a growing 
refinement in the public taste than the selection of beautiful 
and becoming spots, where art and affection combine to rob 
the externals of the grave of all that is repulsive, and t-o add 
the attractions of the lovely in nature to the associations of 
love and affection which consecrate the mound beneath which 
the wife, the child, or the friend, is reposing. 

Beginning with Mount Auburn, the beautiful idea has 
found a type in the recent rural cemeteries of many of the 
towns in the Commonwealth ; and will, ere long, be copied in 
every one. Such has been the case with Leicester. A new 
cemetery, in a sequestered spot, amidst the spreading shades 
of the pine and other forest trees, was consecrated by suitable 
and appropriate ceremonies in 1841. It is about half a mile 
south-west of the Meeting-house. But, before noticing this 
further, I recur to the earlier burying-places in the town. 
One of these was in rear of the Congregational Meeting- 
house; probably occupied as such from the very first settle- 
ment of the town. Here, borrowing the language of poetry, 
without meaning to do injustice to their character, " the 
rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

It ceased to be used, except occasionally, as a burial-place, 
after about 1765 (at least, for new families), when the one, 
half a mile west of the Meeting-house, was opened ; and, when 



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162 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

it was thought clesirable to extend the Common in rear of 
the Meeting-house, the headstones were removed, the graves 
levelled, and every mark and vestige of the spots where some 
two or three generations had successively been laid were 
effectually obliterated. Jethro, elsewhere noticed, was the 
last person buried within the original cemetery ; and this must 
have been about 1810. 

The second cemetery, in point of time, was that around the 
Baptist Meeting-house in Greenvdle. Capt. Samuel Green 
was, as is supposed, the first person buried there ; which was 
in January, 1736. 

The burying-grouud around the Friends' Meeting-house was 
begun to be occupied about 1739, and formed originally a 
part of the farms of Nathaniel Potter and Kohert Earle. 

About 1750, a cemetery was begun upon the farm in the 
north part of the town, then owned by John Lynde, Esq., 
afterwards by Isaac Clioate, and more recently by Deacon 
Joseph Elliot, Mrs. Benjamin "Wheaton, a daughter of John 
Lynde, was among the first persons interred there, after the 
burial of her father, which took place in 1756, 

Another collection of graves may be seen, in the south-west- 
erly part of the town, upon the fann formerly belonging to 
Elder Richard Southgate. The grave of the Elder is among 
them. The last intei'ment there was that of Judah South- 
gate in 1799. 

There is a cemetery in Cheny Valley, originall}' begun by 
Benjamin Studley in 1816, which is laid out with much taste 
as a public burial-place for the people in that part of the 
town. 

Several small clusters of graves, and single graves, are 
scattered in various parts of the town. Those of the Rev. 
Mr. Parsons and Dr. Lawton are mentioned elsewhere. Seve- 
ral of these are memorials of the time, when it was thought 
necessary to resort to "pest-houses," as they were called, in 
which the patient submitted to inoculation as a protection 



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HIKTOKY OF LEICESTER. 163 

from the small-pox, before the days of vaccination. Although 
this wa3 found to be comparatively far more safe than being 
subjected to that loathsome disease in the " natural way," it 
was attended with much hazard ; as was attested by more or 
less graves found neai- the localities of most of those hospi- 
tals. One of them was the house formerly of Joseph Shaw, 
near the " Shaw Pond," so called ; it being, as all such hospi- 
tals were, remote from any road or any other dwelling-house. 
One inscription upon one of these headstones is still legible : 
" In memory of Miss Ruth Paine, daughter of Mr. Jabez and 
Mrs. Elizabeth Paine, who died April 10, 1778, in the 24th 
year of her age. This stone was set up by a sencear morner." 
But no headstone records to whom the sleeper there was 
indebted for this simple tribute of affection. 

The proprietor of the Mount-Pleasant Estate (Mr. Lewis 
Allen) was, by his direction, buried in the garden in 1780. He 
died at the age of thirty-five. In the conveyance of his estate 
after his death, this spot was reserved ; but, some forty years 
since, it shared the lot of most such private graves. The 
estate had fallen into the hands of a stranger ; and, regardless 
of the uses to which the spot had been consecrated, every 
vestige of it was levelled beneath the ploughshare ; and it is 
no longer to be distinguished. 

MOUNT PLEASANT. 

The estate which has long been known by this name, was, 
at one time, of sufficient magnitude and importance to be 
the subject of particular notice. The mansion-house stands 
on what was originally lot No. 33 ; at first laid out to Joseph 
Parsons, who is mentioned in this work. From him it passed 
to Nathaniel Kauney of Boston ; and belonged to William 
Brown in 1724, when the deed of the proprietors of the town 
was made to the settlers of the east half of the township. 
After that, it belonged to Ralph Inman, who sold it to Darby 



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164 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Hyan. He sold one-half of the iarm to John Byan, his father, 
in 1767. He sold to Jonathan Sargent, jun., in 1771. The 
same year, Mr. Sargent sold it to Joseph Henshaw, then 
called of Boston. He owned it seven years, and, during that 
time, erected the mansion-house now standing upon it, as has 
already been mentioned, from materials brought from Boston. 
Col. Henshaw ia noticed in another part of this work. 

In March, 1778, he sold to Lewis Allen, of Shrewsbury, 
called a goldsmitli. He had, in the mean time, become the 
owner of some adjacent land, making a hundred and thirty-six 
acres in all: and the sum paid for it at that time was two thou- 
sand five hundred pounds. Mr. Allen was a man of peculiar 
habits and notions ; and, in the early part of the Revolution, 
had been a royalist. He gave the estate the name it has since 
borne ; and, when he died, was buried, by his direction, in the 
garden, as has been stated. The reason for this, as related 
in Ward's History of Shrewsbury, and as given by Mr. Allen, 
was, that he might hear the news from Boston when the 
stage came along. A little grove of maples, growing close 
by the road near the avenue to tho house, was planted by 
him. He died there in 1780. His administrators sold the 
estate, together with an Eidditional seventy acres which be 
had purchased of Darby Ryan, to Samuel Brooks of Worcester, 
in 1783, for nine hundred and twenty-six pounds, reserving a 
rod of land where said Allen had been buried. Thomas Stick- 
ney, who had removed here from Newburyport, then became 
the owner, and carried on business as a merchant there until 
his death in August, 1791.* In September, 1795, Capt, John 



* I have been enabled, Iiy the favor of J. Henry Sficknej, Esq., nii eminent merclinnt 
of Bnltimore, and a grandsoD of Mr. StEokney, to pi'esent to the reader a view of this 
estate na it appeared in 1791 ; it being ft copy of r print published in the Mat«auhn- 
setts Megnzine of tJiat year. I give below the scoouot which accompanied the 
original print. An e, memorial of the primitive condidon of the estate, the print has 
much interest ; while the source from which it has been derived, gives it additionnl 

"BesmpHon of MiiUlU Plensanl, accosipnmed viilh a itnkmif View The annexed 

plute exhibits a view of Mount I'leasaiit, in Leicester, Mass., — the real estate of the liite 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 165 

Lyon, then called of Worcester, who had married the widow 
of Mr. Stickney, sold the homestead, then containing two hun- 
dred acres, with the "man8ion-house,barn, potash, farm-house, 
and all other buildings thereon," to James Swan, then called 
of Boston, for five thousand two hundred and sixty-seven 
dollars. In other contemporary deeds he is called of Dor- 
chester, where he had an elegant seat. 

The extent of his estates, and the style of magnificence 
in which he lived, rendered the removal of Major Swan to 
Leicester a memorable event in its history. In all these, he so 
far exceeded any thing which had been before familiar to the 
people, that he was the object of general interest and atten- 
tion ; and fabulous stories of the wealth he displayed were 
told for many years after his brief reign of magnificence and 
admiration had passed by. He had been a major of a regi- 
ment of artillery in the Continental service, commanded by 
Col. Crafts, in which Capta. Todd and Henshaw, and Lieut. 
John Southgate, of Leicester, had held commissions. He may 
have been led to think of this as a place of residence from his 
acquaintance with these gentlemen, but more probably from 
the attractiveness of the estate. He at one time must have 
owned some seven or eight hundred acres of land in a body ; 
embracing, besides the homestead, the farms known as the 
Calvin Hersey Estate ; the John A. Denny Estate; the Moore 
Farm, afterwards of Col, Henry Sargent ; the William Silves- 
ter Farm, and parts of several other farms. There are per- 
sons living who remember the marks of a libeml culture and 
tasteful arrangement which this estate presented in many 
of its parts, enclosed by firm and substantial walls and gates, 



Mr. Thomaa SHokney, ileoensed. This elegant seat is fifty-five miles ftom Boston, on the 
post-rond to New York. It commands (in extensive prospect of the naighbntlng oonn- 
tiy ; itnd, for SHlubrity of air, is perliaps uneqnnllad : n altuntion equnlly favorable for 
phfloBophioal ratireinent and manly improvement. ThegenflemanofngricnltmaldistB 
on tbis fHrmortwD hundred and twenty acres may amuse himself with various experi- 
ments ill the most useful science of husbandry, and tlie sportsman from its forests and 



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166 



HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 



but whose productive mowing-fielda and tillage-lands, after a 
few years of neglect, were changed into rough and unsavory 
pastures, covered with brush, and rendered little better than 
unprofitable wastes. I speak principally of the homestead; 
the buildings and fences of which were, afler the removal 
of Major Swan, suffered to go to decay ; and remained in 
that condition till its late proprietor, by judicious skill and 
labor, did much to restore the soil to its productiveness, and 
the dwelling-house to a pleasant and comfortable homestead. 

I am unable to state how long Major Swan occupied this 
estate ; but I apprehend it was for a few years only. He 
seems to have been a man who lived in a style beyond bia 
actual wealth, or, by some revulsion of fortune, waa induced 
to retire to France, where his creditors endeavored in vain 
to coerce the payment of their debts. I find the following 
notice in the "Worcester Spy" of the 18th September, 1830: 
" A letter from Dr. Niles, now at Paris, mentions, that, on 
July 22, St. Pelagie (the Debtor's Prison in Paris) waa 
opened, and that among the liberated was Mr. Swan, an Ame- 
rican citizen (formerly of Leicester), who has occupied the 
same room thirty-two years and one day." 

The papers have since mentioned his death in Paris ; he 
never having returned to America. His social position and 
family connections in this country were of the most respecta- 
ble rank in life. But this work has properly little connection 
with his personal history, except so far as it was connected 
with that of the town. 

If we were to trace the history of other estates here, 
it would be found remarkable that so few have remained in 
the line of any one family. Of the few that have any claim 
to being paternal acres, may be mentioned that of Mr. Sewall 
Sargent; whose ancestor, Nathan, purchased it, and moved 
upon it in 1742. Lyman Waite, Esq., lives upon a part of the 
estate which his grandfather cleared of the primitive forest, 
and owned as early as 1735, and perhaps earlier; and which 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 167 

came to the present owner by descent from his father. Mr. 
Daniel Livermore owns and lives upon a part of the estate 
■which was conveyed to his ancestor, Daniel Livermore, as one 
of the settlers of the town in 1724. There is one other estate 
which has been held by the same family since previous to 
1728 ; and that is the one on which Joseph Whittemore lived 
at the time of his recent death. It was purchased by Deacon 
John, his grandfather; and was afterwards owned by his 
father, Lieut. James. But, beyond these, I do not recall 
one which has passed by descent in any one family for the 
term of a hundred years, or even approximating to that length 
of time. 

Mr. Wilham Henshaw lives upon a part- of the original farm 
of his ancestor, Daniel Henshaw ; and Dr. Pliny Earle lives 
upon part of that of his ancestor, Ralf Earle. The place on 
which Mr. Henry E. Warren lives belonged to his grandfather ; 
and the place owned by Mr. Eber Bond was owned by his 
ancestor, Benjamin, before 1747. 

PUnLIC-HODSRS. 

Among the houses in town which have been occupied as 
inns, or taverns, are the following; though I am unable to 
give all the occupants, or to mention them in their order 
where they have been ascertained. 

The first in order of time was one standing where Capt. 
Knight's house is, at the corner of the Great and the Rut- 
land Road. It was early built, and occupied as a public- 
house from the first. The first occupant was Nathaniel Rich- 
ardson, as early as 1721. John Taylor owned and occupied 
it in 1746. He sold to John Taylor, jun., in 1755. In 1756, it 
was Irept a short time by Seth Washburn. He appears to 
have been succeeded by Mr. Taylor again. Benjamin Tucfeer 
occupied it in 1761, and, by permission of the town, dug a 
woll upon the Common, now remaining, — ^ " a Httlc west of the 



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X68 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

sign-post." The liouso then belonged to the estate of Mr. 
Taylor, who had died. It was soon purchased by Edward 
Bond; and while in his possOBsion, in 1167, was burned, as 
stated in another part of this work. The house was rebuilt 
and occupied by Mr. Bond until 1775, when he sold it to 
Isaac Kibbe ; but I apprehend he never lived upon it. It 
was kept by Elijah Lathrop from 1776 to 1778 ; when Teter 
Taft, from Uxbridge, who had purchased of Kibbe, occnpied 
it till 1781. He then sold it to Eeuben Swan, who enlarged 
it, and continued to occupy it until 1801 ; when Winiam Den- 
ny purchased and occupied it till about 1810. He was suc- 
ceeded by Aaron Morse, who occupied it untU he removed 
into the tavern opposite the Meeting-house. 

The next house in order of time was that of Jonathan Sar- 
gent, which stood opposite the Catholic Church. It was built 
and occupied as a tavern as early as 1727. Mr. Sargent 
occupied it till his death. He was succeeded by his son 
Phinehas, who occupied it till his death in 1776. Upon his 
death, the estate was purchased by Nathan Waite, who owned 
it till his death, but discontinued it as a tavern several years 
before that time. 

The house standing where Mr. Eobert Watson lately lived 
was kept as a pnblic-hoose in 1740 by James Smith. It was 
afterwards kept as snch by Samuel Lynde in 1765 ; and, in 
1759, was destroyed by a hurricane, as has been stated. 

As early as 1776, Col. Phinehas Newhall kept a public- 
house upon the North County Eoad, where Mr. Eddy lives. 
It was kept by him as such for many years, and continued to 
be so occupied into the present century. It was a large and 
commodious house ; but has, within a few years, been replaced 
by one of smaller dimensions. 

The house opposite the Meetinghouse, which has been so 
long kept as a hotel, was built for that purpose by Nathan 
Waite in 1776. The following year, he removed to the place 
where he afterwards hved, and sold the estate to Jacob Rod 



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HISTOKY OF LEICESTER, 169 

Rivera. Mu. Rivera traded there until his removal to New- 
port in 1783. 

From that time, the house has been kept as a hotel by 
various persons, among whom were Mr. George Bruce and 
Mr. Bugbee; Abner Dunbar; Johnson Lynde, in 1797-8; Arad 
Lynde, his son, and Nathan Pelton, 1799 ; when John Hobart 
purchased it, and carried it on with great success till about 
1817. When he first took it, it contained but two front- 
rooms and a kitchen and bedroom in the body of tho house. 
He enlarged it from time to time to its present size. He sold 
the estate to Alpheus Smith ; under whom Aaron Morse occu- 
pied as a tenant until his removal to New Haven about 1822. 

Mr. George Brace kept a tavern in the Mount-Pleasant 
House after the removal of Major Swan; and, during the 
Revolution, Abner Dunbar kept as a tavern the house stand- 
ing opposite the Mower Place on Mount Pleasant. 

Samuel Green kept a tavern many years in Greenville, in 
the house next west of the river. 

Mr. Hezekiah Stone built, and for several years kept, a hotel 
in wliat is Clappville, upon the Stafford and Worcester Turn- 
pike,* 

There is one class of memorials often met with, connected 
with the history of the town, which I ought not to pass over 
unnoticed, — the cellars of dwelling-houses, which, with their 
occupants, have long since disappeared. Many of these were 
constructed before the highways of the town had been laid 
out, and are now remote from other settlements or travelled 
ways. 

The quiet and seqiiestered spots in which some of them 



• When speaking of OlappTUla, it ahonld lisiva teon Bfeifed that a post-ofliee w 
establialiad there in 1824, and the Bee. Mr. Muenscher was appointed t]iB first po 
muster. Aflarhimwas Edwai'd L. Stonej then Horace M'Fai'landj and, ui SHCoessic 
Butler Goodrldge, Abrnham Pirth, Eeubeu S, Denny, George Roberts, and the prese 
incumbent [Samuel U Stone). 

Tliere was a post-office estabhshed in Cherry Valley in 186S; and Harvey Taint. 
Esq., appointed po&tniflater, 

22 



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no HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

are found, indicate much taste in their original selection; 
and outlines of gardens and enclosures by which they were 
surrounded, with occasionally an aged tree that shaded the 
cottage or supplied its inmates with frait, remind one, that, 
however humble they may have been, they were once the 
abodes of men to whom life had its attractions. Even if one 
took no interest in tracing the name of him who built or 
occupied it, he could not come upon the site of one of these 
early dwellings, nestled in some sheltered valley or looking 
out from some lonely hillside, without being reminded that it 
was once a human habitation and a home ; that here some 
one had shared in what makes up life's common experience in 
every age. Some young man had brought hither, in the flush 
of hope and pride, the happy bride he had chosen : they had 
here begun life together. Here children had played and grown 
up, and gone forth to their several spheres of action ; and here , 
too, death had entered, and taken away the infant in the morn, 
and the old man in the evening, of life. 

If thoughts and emotions like these might be awakened by 
such an object, when only excited by the associations of a 
common nature, it surely cannot be foreign from a work like 
this to give these objects a passing notice, when they are 
associated, many of them, with the names and events which 
make up the town's history. 

They are interesting in another point of view. They 
indicate, by the very humble dimensions of the houses, the 
condition of the first settlers of the town, in respect to com- 
fort and convenience. The names of their occupants and the 
numbers of their children, as shown in the genealogies of 
their families, present a singular disproportion between the 
capacity of their houses and the number of persons they 
were made to accommodate. 

Most of these houses were a single story in height, and 
few of them contained more than a couple of rooms, and per- 
haps a projecting bed-room, in this story ; and tho inventories 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 171 

of the fumitTire they contained were aa meagre as the pro- 
portions of their rooms were small. 

They illustrate the social history of the first and succeeding 
generation which planted and subdued the soil of Leicester. 
One of these is on Dix Hill, so called, in the north-west part 
of the town, where Benjamin Dix lived from previous to 1744 
till after 1759. On the west side of Shaw Pond is another, 
where Joseph Shaw lived, which was built about 1748. It was 
used as a hospitiil or pest-bouse about the time of tho Revo- 
lution. 

There are two on the east side of Shaw Pond. In one of 
these, John Cummings lived. He married RacJiel Snow, 1752. 
In the other, which ia about a quarter of a mile east from the 
first, Robert Woodward lived in 1740. There is one west of 
George S. Bond's house, where John Converse lived in 1729, 
aa I suppose ; and, after him, his son Joshua, who was living 
there in 1776. 

At the corner of the Eddy Road, so called, noar the 
North-west Schoolhouse, is the cellar of the house in which 
Robert, the father of Sally Bradish, mentioned in this work, 
lived; and afterwards Setb Washburn, jun., eon of Col, Seth, 
just before the Revolution. His blacksmith-shop stood near 
it. 

In 1755, Benjamin Woodward built a house, the cellar of 
which remains, about thirty rods east from the road leading to 
Zolva Green's, and about a quarter of a mile from the Whitte- 
more Road, as it is called. Hia son Jesse lived there after 
him ; and, in 1776 it was occupied by a Widow Sawin, Dea- 
con John Whittemore built his first house, about 1730, some 
sixty rods south-west from that which he afterwards built, 
where his son Joseph lived. A house once stood on the west 
side of the road leading to the Whittemore Sawmill, in which 
Hiram Newhall was living about 1764. Joseph Sprague, the 
first of the name in town, built a house which stood near 
the one in which hia son, Capt. William, lived. The house of 



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172 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Dudley Wade Swan, in 1736, stood near the present house 
of Mr. Sturtevant, in the north-east part of the town. Reuben 
Swan lived there in 1776. John Potter, as early as 1730, lived 
in a house that stood on the south side of the road, a little 
west of where Jonah Earle lived. Joseph Trumbull's house, 
in 1737, stood a little south of the house of the late Daniel 
Kent. Nathaniel Waite built his house, about that time, where 
his son Samuel afterwards built the house in which he lived. 
The house of Deacon James Southgate was standing, in 1730, 
on the knoll a little north of the house of David Morton ; and 
the house of his brother Richard stood upon the upper side 
of the old Country Road, a little north-weat of where Capt. 
John lived and died. On the knoll west of the brick factory 
and of the pond, the house of Nathaniel Sargent stood, about 
17S0. The cellar on the west side of the Sylvester Road, 
about sixty rods from the Great Road, was the residence of 
Joseph, and afterwards of his son Seth "VYashburn. A cellar, 
upon what is called Ballard Hill, about half a mile south of 
"William Silvester's, was built by George Cradock, Esq,, for 
the tenant of his farm, and afterwards occupied by Zaccheus 
Ballard, who came from Framingham in 1770. The house 
was burned before the Revolution. 

Capt. Isaac Southgate was born in a house occupied by his 
father, which stood in the pasture about sixty rods north-west 
from the house of the late Peter Silvester. Where Benjamin 
Earle's house now stands, there was once a house, in which 
Mr. Lynde lived, and after him Abner Dunbar kept a tavern. 
It was occupied by Elijah Howe in 1776. On the Oxford Road, 
nearly in front of Mrs. Hobart's, stood a small house, formerly 
occupied by the Rev. Mr. G-oddard ; afterwards by Joshua 
Croasman in 1776. A Mr. Kane had a small house where Ira 
Bond's now stands ; and a little farther south stood the house 
of Mr. Bowker, on the same side of the road. In a lot west of 
Eber Bond's house was the house of Mr, Barnes, occupied 
by James Graton in 1776. Matthew Watson's house, built by 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 173 

him in 1720, stood about sixty roda north-east of Dca-ion 
Lyon's, on land now of Joseph A. Denny, Esq. Samuel Wa'^ 
son's house was bailt early, and stood on the hill south of that 
of his son Benjamin, in the south-east part of the town. 

None of these, it is believed, have been standing within 
the reeoilection of any person now living. In some cases, 
they have given place to more commodious and convenient 
dwellings ; in others, they were suffered to go to decay, and 
were abandoned. It was by the diligence and research of 
the one who prepared the map of the town, which accom- 
panies this work, that I trace their history. 

I add, from the same authority, a few of the houses which 
have disappeared within the recollection of living witnesses. 
Among these was the house of Col. Samuel Denny, on Moose 
Hill, built in 1756, and taken down about 1817. The house 
occupied by Robert Woodward in 1750, by Benjamin Liv- 
ingston in 1776, and by sundry others prior to Joel Marsh, 
ita last occupant, stood about half a mile north-west from 
Joseph Whittemore's. The house of Azariah Eddy, near the 
North-west Schoolhouse, was originally built by Benjamin 
Converse, and was occupied by him in 1776. Capt. John 
Holden'a house stood on the east side of the Rutland Road, 
about a mile and a quarter from the Meeting-house. It was 
built by Joseph Sprague, and occupied by his son Timothy in 
1776. The house in which Peter Silvester lived in 1776, 
and afterwards occupied by Adam Gilmore, was upon the 
eastern slope of the Meeting-house HiU, upon the north side 
of the road, where there is still a cellar. Benjamin Vickery'a 
house was below that, upon the opposite side of the road. 

The house of Daniel Denny, which he built aboxit 1725 
stood upon the top of Denny Hill, then called Nurse's, upon 
the east side of the road, where a bam now stands. He died 
there in 1765. Capt. Nathaniel Harwood lived in a house 
opposite the house of William Silvester. The house of 
James Harwood stood about half a mile west of Eber Bond's. 



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174 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Jonas Livermore built a house, before tbe Revolution, upon 
the west side of the road, at the southerly foot of the Liver- 
more Hill. It was afterwards occupied by Isaac Livermore, 
aud subsequently by Joseph Washburn. 

The house of Elder Richard Southgatc, in which he was 
living in 1776, and in which he died, stood upon the north 
side of the road leading by William Silvester's, and near the 
line of Spencer. There are several other spots, once occu- 
pied by dwelling-houses, which are noticed in other connec- 
tions in this work. 

I have had occasion, more than once, to allude to the 
changes which have taken place in the families that have at 
some time formed a part of the inhabitants of the town, and 
the great numbers who have disappeared from it by remo- 
val. Some of these I can now trace, though their number is 
small; and it seems in keeping with the rest of the work to 
mention them here. 

John Brown, and Francis and Isaac Choate, removed to 
Ohio early in its history. Quite a number emigrated to Ver- 
mont when it was settled. Among them, Jabez Paine went 
to Westminster; Asa Washburn (son of Col. Seth), Samuel 
Sargent (who had married his sister), John Hodgkins (who 
had married another sister), Ebenezer Saunderson, Israel 
Saunderson, and Abijah Stowers, went t-o Putney ; Hezekiah 
Saunderson, to Westminster ; Richard Southgate, son of " El- 
der Richard," and his three sons, with Thomas, Willard, and 
Aaron, sons of Nathan Lamb, went to Bridgewater ; the 
father went to Corinth ; Isaac, son of Dr. Thomas Green, 
went to Windsor ; Dr. Edward Lamb, to Montpelier ; Thomas 
Hammond, to Orwell ; Samuel Upham, to Calais ; Benjamin 
Livingston went to Townsend, and James to Peacham; Gen. 
Lyman Mower and Amos Warren went to Woodstock ; Wil- 
liam, Etias, and Ezra Kent, sons of Ebenezer, and John Earle, 
Daniel Hubbard, and his son Jonathan, went to Wallingford ; 
Joseph Cerley, to Whitingham; and Elias Greene and family, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 175 

to Cambridge.* Moat of tliese had families, who removed 
with them. 

Robert Henry anil family, and Ezra Silvester, went to 
Charleston, N.H. Among those who removed to Maine 
were Asa Green and family, to Deer Isle, in 1797 ; and Wil- 
liam Paine, Benjamin Watson, jun., and Clark Works, with 
their families, to Mercer. 

Reuben Earlo, son of William, went to German Flats, N.Y. ; 
John, another son, to Herkimer ; and Oliver, his brother, to 
Vermont ; so did Nathan, George, and Esek, sons of Robert 
Earle ; Sylvaniia, son of Thomas Earle, and his family, went 
to Ohio in 1816; so did Daniel, Reuben, and Homer, sons of 
James Earle ; Joseph Sprague went to Brooklyn, N.Y. ; Otis, 
his brother, to Indiana, afterwards to Wisconsin; John and 
Otis, sons of John Hobart, and Theodore V., son of Joseph 
Denny, went to Indianapolis ; Ebenezer D. Washburn, to Ala- 
bama ; Joseph, his brother, to Georgia ; Joshua, son of David 
Henshaw, went to Ohio, but returned late in life to Leicester ; 
Andrew went to Alabama ; Jonathan Bond, to the western 
part of New York ; James, son of Thomas Mower, went to 
New York in 1792 ; Dr. Andrew Denny, son of Nathaniel P., 
to Alabama ; and Samuel and Bloomfield Parsons, sons of 
Solomon, to Louisiana ; Samuel Whitteraore, son of James, 
with his family, removed to the State of New York ; John 
Sprague, son of Timothy, with his family, went to the State 



* For the iiooount of the emigrants to Vermont, I am much indebteil to Hon, Kau- 
ben Washbnra, who is noticed rnnong the native graduates of college. Upon his 
authority, I am happy to slate that Uie emigrants to Vermont from Leicester wara 
genarally a hardy, robust, industrloua, frugal, and enterprising set of men ; and they 
and their descendants have contributed their fnll share to the prosperity of (he State, 
and to its character for general intelligence and a spirit of independence. I mlEht 
roentjon among them Thomaa Hammond, Judge of Rutland County ,■ Gen. Mower, 
first President of the Woodstock Bank,— a man distinguished for enterprisa and puljlic 
spirit; and Dr. Lamb, who attained great eminence in his profession. William Uphara 
la mentioned In another place, a senator hi Congress. 

The oontomporaries of these emigrants, as many may now remember, always spoke 
of Vermont as the "new Statai" such being the leim by which it had once been 



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176 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

of New York; Dr. liobert Southgate went to Scarborough, 
Me, ; David and Isaac, sons of Samuel Denny, settled in 
Vermont ; Billings Hobart now lives in Charleston, Va. ; 
Thomas Denny, son of Col. Thomas, in the city of New 
York ; Elijah Washburn and Joseph, sons of Elijah, and 
nephews of Col. Seth, removed to Hancock, N.H. ; Seth, son 
of Seth, and grandson of Col. Washburn, went to Lansing- 
burg, N.Y. ; Asahel Washburn, nephew of Col. Seth, and 
family, went to Greenabo rough, Vfc., in 1801. Among others 
who removed to Vermont were Joseph and John Lynde ; 
William, son of Richard Bond, and Stephen Sargent ; Wil- 
liam Sargent, son of Jonathan, jnn., went to Canada; Capt, 
William Todd, to Keene, N.H.; Hartwell and Denny Hay- 
ward, sons of John, went to Ne.v York; so did Edward 
Westly, Phinehas Barton, jun., Samuel Sargent, and his son 
Samuel, jun., with their families ; Benjamin Tucker removed 
to New Hampshire in 1765 ; James Scott, with his father 
Andrew, went to Pennsylvania ; Charles and Z. S. M. Hersej', 
to Canada. 

I have not attempted to enumerate those who have removed 
from Leicester to other towns in Massachusetts. Many of 
them have made their mark in the places in which they 
have settled, in the several departments of business and pur- 
suits in life in which they have been engaged, and reflected 
credit upon their native home. And it may not be inappro- 
priate to remark in this connection, that, of the presidents 
of banks in Boston, Henry B. Stone, Esq., late of the Suffolk ; 
Hon. Waldo Flint, of the Eagle; and Daniel Denny, Esq., of 
the Hamilton, — were natives of the town ; while one of the 
collectors of that port (Hon. David Ilensliaw) was also born 
there. 



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HISTORY or : 



CHAPTER VI. 

PERSONAL NOTICES. 

PliOl'-ESSIOSAL MEN. -(JBADUATliS AT COLLEGE J'UBLIC MEN.— 

ARTISTS. 

In attomiJting to present personal notices of individuals who 
have been connected with the town, it cannot be expected 
that I should confine myself to such only as have been known 
in eminent and distinguished positions, and in the relations 
of public ofBee or place. My aim is free from all ench pre- 
tence ; as the sketches I shall attempt to offer are designed 
only to illustrate the proper local history which I am attempt, 
ing to embody. Among these are the public and professional 
men ; exclusive, of course, of the clergymen, who have al- 
ready been spoken of. 

Of those who have been judges of courts, the first in order 
of time was John Minzies. He removed here from Eoxbury 
in 1720, and became a large landed proprietor in the town. 
He lived in, and undoubtedly built, the house upon the 
Henshaw Place which recently belonged to the Hon. David 
Henshaw. He was a Scotch gentleman, educated for the 
bar, and a member of the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh. 
He was appointed, by the crown, Judge of the Court of 
Admiralty for Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode 
Island ; and an-ived in Boston, in the ship " Samuel," in 
December, 1715, bringing with him his commission. He 
settled in Roxbury; where he probably became associated 
with some of the leading proprietors of Leicester, and was 
induced to take up his residence in this then almost un- 
broken wilderness. 



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ITS HISTORY 01' LEICESTER. 

The cext year, he was chosen to represent the town in the 
General Court, receiving tlie cordial thanks of his constitu- 
ents aa the compensation for his services ; and was re-elected, 
upon the like advantageous terms, in 1722, '23, and '25. 

His poHtical career was brought to a sudden and untimely 
end by the action of the House in expelling him from that 
body. The reason of this harsh measure was his having 
written home letters to the Lords Commissioners, in which 
he complained of the manner in which the courts of the Pro- 
vince interfered with the jurisdiction of his own court by 
issuing prohibitions to suitors from prosecuting their claims 
before him ; and saying it was impossible to get a jury of the 
country to do justice to the king in trials involving the rights 
and authority of the crown. 

This coming to the ears of the Legislature, he was arraigned 
before the House to answer to the charge ; but, so far from 
denying it, he re-iterated the charge, and insisted that it was 
fully justified by the facts, and that he had done no more than 
his duty required of him. As he declined to apologize, the 
House voted to expel him. 

The following year, he removed to Boston ; where he died, 
in September, 1728, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. 

He was a friend of Dr. Doiiglass the historian, from whom 
he borrowed money ; and had pecuniary deahnga with Gov, 
Shute, and the Hon. Robert Byng, the Receiver-General of 
the Admiralty in England, Like so many of his contempo- 
raries, he seems to have entered largely into the land specula^ 
tions of the day. 

He was interested in other new townships besides Leicester, 
In the settlers' deed of the latter he is named as a grantee ; 
having purchased Lot No. 25, which had been originally as- 
signed to Thomas Holhoke. By virtue of this right, he 
became the owner of four hundred acres, where he lived ; 
and afterwards purchased the rights of Capt, Baker in Lot 
No. 34; and of Samuel Prince, father of Rev. Mr. Prince the 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 179 

annalist, in Lot No. 31; which, with other purchases, made 
him, at one time, owner of more than sixteen hundred acres 
in the town. 

Hia speculations did not turn out eueeessful. He waa 
obliged to mortgage his estates heavily ; and, after his death, 
his widow Katherine, as his administi-atris, sold his lands for 
the payment of liis debts. 

The body of water adjoining his estate was designated, in 
the early plans of the town, " t7ie Judge's Pom]," from the 
title of honor with which he was always spoken of by his 
contemporaries. 

He left no children ; and, upon the death of his widow, the 
family became extinct in Massachusetts. 

Thomas Steele was the son of Thomaa Steele, who pur- 
chased Judge Menzies' estate after his death. He was bom 
in Boston : graduated at Harvard in 1730, ranking fourth in 
the class, on the score of family dignity ; Chief-Justice Oliver 
standing at the head of the class. He was bred a mer- 
chant, and puFHTied the business of trade before and after his 
removal to Leicester. 

In 1756, he was appointed Judge of the Court of Common 
Pleas for the County of Worcester ; and held that office until 
the Revolution. 

In 1752, he was chosen to represent the town in the Gene- 
ral Court; and was re-elected in the years '53, '54, and '55. 

In 1761, he was elected t^wn-clerk, and, by annua! elec- 
tion, held the office till 1769; and the records of the town 
furnish evidence of the beauty of hia chirography, and the 
fidelity with which he recorded the ti-ansactions of the town, 
many of which must have been very little in unison with hia 
own political sentiments. 

He waa a firm loyalist in his feelings and opinions, though 
he was probably prudent enough not to provoke censure by 
the too free expression of them. Besides this, his daughter 
having married so thorough and tried a patriot as Joseph 



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180 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

Allen, and another having married Dr. John Honywood {who 
early entered into the army), would have formed a pledge 
of fidelity to his country, which must have gone far to disarm 
the jealousy of his neighbors. 

He lived in various places in town ; probably, for some 
time, at first at the Henshaw Place. At one time, he lived 
and did business in the large old house which he built, and 
which stood at the foot of the Meeting-house Hill, at the 
intersection of Flip Lane with the Great Road, I'or some 
time before and after 1776, he lived in the Eawson House, so 
called, upon the Gfreat Koad, just east of the Town-meadow 
Brook.* 

Every thing we can gather relative to Judge Steele leads 
us to believe that lie was a man of high respectability of 
character, who possessed the confidence of his fellow-citizens, 
though differing from them in his political sentiments. 

His father, who was a merchant in Boston, was also, at 
times, called upon to act in a judicial capacity, though never 
appointed to the bench, I find one case, where, with Thomas 
Hutchinson, Thomas Fitch, and Anthony Stoddard, he was 
appointed Special Justice of the Common Pleas for Suffolk, 
to try an action wherein Chief-Justice Byfleld of that court 
was a party. This was in 1732. 

Though possessed of a considerable estate when he removed 
to Leicester, Judge Steele was not a successful business-man, 
and had lost much of his property before he died. 

One of his daughters, as already mentioned, married Hon. 
Josepli Allen ; another, Dr. John Honey wood ; another, Dr. 
Edward Eawson; another, a Mr, Hitchcock of Brookfield; 
and one (Maiy) survived them all, and died unmarried. He 
had two sons, — Thomas and Samuel; but no branch of the 
family has been connected with the town since the death of 
his daughter Mary. Thomas died in 1768, unmarried. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTKK.. 181 

Hon. Joseph Dore resided some years in Leicester, and, a 
part or all the time, occupied the house built by Judge Steele 
at the foot of the Meeting-house Hill. He was a son of the 
Bev. Joseph Dorr of Mendon; born May 24, 1730; graduated 
at Harvard in 1752, and studied divinity. He preached occa- 
eionally for several years, but does not appear to have ever 
been settled as a minister. He was an active and devoted 
friend to the cauae of the Colonies in the struggle with the 
mother -country, and took an early and leading part in the 
measures which resulted in their independence.* 

While residing in Mendon, he was a magistrate, a member 
of the Committee of Safety, a member of the Legislature, and 
a part of the time, Judge of Probate and of the Court of 
Common Pleas. He was one of the first senators chosen 
under the Constitution from the county of Worcester ; having 
been elected in 1780-81 and '82. 

In 1776, he was commissioned as Judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas for the county of Worcester ; which office he 
resigned in 1801. In 1782, he was appointed Judge of Pro- 
bate to succeed Judge Lincoln, and held the office till Novem- 
ber, 1800; when he resigned, and was succeeded by Judge 
Paine. He removed to Ward (now Auburn) between 1784 
and 1790, and resided there a while. 

I am unable to state the time of his removing to Leicester, 
or of his leaving there. He was there in 1797 and 1798 ; and, 
as the records indicate, removed to Brookfleld in 1802, where 
he continued to reside till his death, Oct. 31, 1808, at the age 
of seventy-eight. 

The offices which Judge Dorr was called to fill, and the 
general respect in which he was held, furnish the strongest 
evidence of his character and abilities as a citizen, and as a 
man of intelligence, energy, and integrity. 

• He was one of the oommiasionars ohospn by the people to wait on the M«n- 
(lamnB CouroLllors for the county of Worcester to demaad a Burrender of their 
dommieeions. 



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182 HISTORY OF LElCi«TER. 

He left several children; among whom were the late Hon. 
Samuel Dorr, and Joseph H. Dorr, Esq., eminent and respec, 
table merchants in Boston. 

Besides the above, William Ward of Southborough , in 
1731, waa appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. 
He waa a resident here in 1721 ; was a surveyor, and re- 
moved here from Marlborough. He afterwards lived in 
Southborough ; and is spoken of in the " History of North- 
borough," by the Eev. Mr, Allen. 

Of the Lawyers who have resided in the town, the first in 
order of time was Christopher J. Lawton. He took up his 
residence here in 1736;* and, from the best information I can 
gain of him, was a native of Suffield in Connecticut. 

A writer in the "American Qiiarterly Register," No, 15, 
speaka of a person of this name in this manner : " As early as 
1720, John Higgins and Christopher J, Lawton were noted 
lawyers in Connecticut ; and, by their knowledge and worthy 
example, gave early and honorable character to their Pro- 
vincial bar." 

As the subject of this notice could hardly have been old 
enough in 1720 to have attained such distinguished consider- 
ation, and as the name is somewhat peculiar and probably 
a family one, I am led to suppose that the person above men- 
tioned was the father of the one of whom I am speaking. 
In fact, I find that he was admitted to the bar of Hampshire 
County in 1726, and was practising his profession in Suffield 
in 1733. In 1734, he waa appointed a coroner for the county 
of Hampshire, though atiU residing in Suffield ; and continued 
to reside there until his removal to Leicester in 1735. 

Had he removed from Connecticut into Hampshire County, 



certaiiiij' had been mmJe familiar with some depart- 
i complftiiits to wliiel] tliey were Bubjacted by tlieir 
bllowins prticle In n WHfrant for a. town-meeting in 
'6 Iht huo-houk boloiigiug to tlie towu fljled witli Uiobo 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



183 



the date of his admission to the bar tbcrc would not have 
been conclusive as to the time of his beginning practice. 
But this apparent discrepancy between his place of residence 
and the county in which he did business is readily explained, 
when it is i-emembered, that, from 1713 to 1747, a tier of 
towns now belonging to Connecticut, embracing Suffield, En- 
field, Somers, and Woodstock, were regarded as within the 
jurisdiction of Massachusetts ; and it may be recollected, that 
some of the most important oflices in Worcester County, 
at its organization, were held by persons residing in Wood- 
stock, which was then a part of the county. 

lu 1735, Mr. Lawton purchased a farm in the westerly part 
of the town, upon both sides of the Great Road, of Josiah 
Converse, and Josiah Converse, jun., who both, that year, 
removed to Brookficld. He afterwards resided upon that 
farm, 

In 1736, '40, and '41, he was a representative in the Gene- 
ral Court. 

After removing to Leicester, ho rcsnmecl the practice of 
his profession ; which he continued until 1751, though with 
what success I have no means of forming a judgment. He 
conveyed his farm to his son, Dr. Pliny Lawton, in 1753 ; and 
I infer, from his discontinuing his profession and thus dispos- 
ing of his estate, that he had become aged or infirm, and did 
not long survive, though I am unable to fix the period of 
hia death. 

He had a brother James, a saddler, who removed with 
him into town from Suffield, and lived on what used to be 
called the Mower Place, on Mount Pleasant. 

The son will be noticed hereafter, among the physicians. 
The next counsellor and attorney at law in town was the 
Hon. Nathaniel Paine Denny, He was a son of Col. Samuel 
Denny, and was born July, 1771. He graduated at Harvard 
in 1797, and studied his profession with the Hon. Nathaniel 
Paine of Worcester ; whose name he assumed, by Act of the 



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18i HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Legislature, in exchange for that of Thomas, which he had 
received in his infancy. He was admitted to the bar in 1800, 
and opened an office at once in Leicester. He married Sally, 
daughter of Reuben Swan, in November, 1798. 

Though never eminent as a lawyer, he pi'actised the pro- 
fession with good success for about twenty years, when 
he withdrew from it altogether. For five or six years — 
from 1813 — he was a partner in business with Bradford 
Sumner, Esq. He removed to Norwich, Conn., in 1845, 
where he resided until about 1854; when he removed to 
Barre, in the county of Worcester, where he died in 1856. 
While a citizen of Leicester, he shared liberally in the pub- 
lic favor, and was often called to fill places of public and 
private trust. 

Prom 1803 to 1808, he represented the town in the General 
Court; and was elected to the same place in 1811, 1825, 1828, 
1830, and 1841. In 1823, he was chosen to the Senate, and 
held the place two years by re-election. From 1815 to 1845, 
he was a member of the Board of Trust of Leicester Academy ; 
and in 1830 was chosen, and for some time held, the oifice of 
President of Leicester Bank. 

He was a man of a strong and vigorous mind, great shrewd- 
ness and good sense ; of agreeable and convivial manners ; 
and a pleasant companion. 

He built, and for many years occupied, the house now 
owned by Mr, Charles W. Warren. He afterwards lived a 
few years in the house next east of Mr. Joseph Whittemore's ; 
then owned and occupied the house where Mr, Knowles lives, 
formerly occupied by the Eev. Mr. Moore ; but, for some 
time before his removal from town, he owned and occupied 
the house on the north side of the Great Road, on Mount 
Pleasant, formerly owned by Jonathan Earle. 

He left three sons and two daughters. One of the former 
is among the active and enterprising business-men of the 
place. The other children have removed from the town, — 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 185 

Otic son residing in Alabama, one daughter in Indiana, and 
another iu Cambridge. 

Bradford Sumner removed to Leicester from Sponcer, 
where he had been a short time in business, in 1813. Soon 
after his removal here, he married Miss Amelia Eertody of 
Wrentham, July, 1813. He remained here until October, 
1820, when be removed to Boston, where he continued in the 
practice of his profession until his death ; though, for several 
years, his residence was in Cambridge. 

He was born in Taunton, 1783; was graduated at Brown 
University in 1808 ; was two years a tutor in that institution ; 
and admitted to the bar in 1812. He died Sept. 25, 1855, 
aged seventy-three ; and, in the published notice of his 
death, is spoken of as " an honorable and upright lawyer 
of the Suffolk Bar." 

He was a diligent student in bis profession, and obtained 
a very respectable rank at a bar which has always been 
eminent for men of distinguished ability ; was a good mana- 
ger of causes, a neat speaker, and an effective advocate, 
without pretending to the higher powers of eloquence. He 
was a courteous and agreeable gentleman in manners, and 
an intelligent and pleasant companion in social life ; a man 
of literary taste, and a good degree of literary culture ; and 
for a short time was principal of the Academy, while residing 
in Leicester. 

David Brigham was in practice here a little more than 
two years ; having removed here from New Braintree in 1817. 
He was a native of Shrewsbury ; born Aug. 15, 1786; and was 
graduated at Harvard in 1810. "While fitting for college at 
the Academy, he taught the Centre School in Leicester one 
winter, in 1806-6. 

He commenced the practice of law in New Braintree. 
Thence he came to Leicester; and, aft^r remaining here 
something over two years, removed to Greenfield. While 
in Leicester, he was employed for a single term as a teacher 



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186 



in the Academy. In Greenfield, he was a partner in bi 
with the Hon. Samuel C, Allen ; and there married a daughter 
of Jerome Ripley, Esq, 

After several yeara' residence in that town, he removed to 
Shrewsbury, and practised his profession there a while. From 
thence he removed to Fitchburg, where he was in business 
for several yeara. He was then induced to remove to Iowa ; 
where he died, in 1843, at the age of fifty-seven. 

Though never successful in his profession to an extent 
that his talents and industry would have seemed to warrant, 
he was a good scholar, with literary tastes, amusing and 
agreeable qualities ; and is pleasantly remembered by those 
who knew him during his brief sojourn here. 

Daniel Ksight took up his residence here in the autumn 
of 1821. His health was feeble, and a pulmonary consump- 
tion had begun to develop itself in his system before his 
removal here. He was a native of Worcester; was gra- 
duated at Brown University in 1813 ; studied law with 
Gov. Lincoln; and commenced business in Spencer in 1817, 
He was unable to attend to business after a year or two 
after his removal to Leicester ; and died, unmarried, Aug, 30 
1826. 

He was an amiable, upright man, of reiined taste and re- 
spectable attainments, but too early a victim of disease to 
develop his powers hy study or by the practice of his pro- 
fession. 

Emory Washbuen was in practice here from Sept, 29, 1821 
to March 28, 1828; when he removed to Worcester. He was 
bom here, Feb. 14, 1800; graduated at Williams College in 
1817 ; and was admitted to the bar in March, 1821. 

Waldo Flint succeeded Mr. Washburn in the practice of 
the law, in Leicester, in 1828. He was a native of the town, 
a son of Dr. Austin Flint; was graduated at Harvard in 1814. 
He was employed one year as a preceptor in the Academy, 
He studied his profession principally with the Hon. Lewis 



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HISTORY f>F LEICESTKK. 187 

Strong of Northampton; and commenced business in Boston 
ill 1818, where he remained until his removal to Leicester. 
He was a member of the Senate, and, a part of the time, pre- 
sident of that body. He afterwards held the ofEce of bank- 
commissioner for one year, when he was induced to accept a 
lucrative and responsible position in the Eagle Bank in Boston ; 
of which institution he afterwards became and is now presi- 
dent. This led to his removal to Boston in 1839, where he 
still resides. 

In June, 1828, he married Miss Kathorine Dean of Charles- 
ton, N.H. ; and lived in the house now belonging to Mr. 
John Woodcock, which he erected. He represented the town 
in the Legislature in the years 1830 and 1833. 

Silas Jones was, for a while, in the practice of the law 
in town, after Mr. Flint had given it up ; but the change in 
respect to professional business generally in the county, after 
the year 1820, was such as to be gradually withdrawing itself 
from the towns bordering upon Worcester to that as a focal 
point, and to render its practice less and less lucrative. 
The effect was, that the emoluments of the business in 
Leicester ceased to be sufficient to support a lawyer there ; 
and, after a brief period, Mr. Jones removed to New York. 
He was a son of Mr. Phineas Jones of Spencer. He was 
never graduated at college. He studied bis profession chief- 
ly with Mr. Sumner, before mentioned; and had been in busi- 
ness in Connecticut before removing to Leicester. 

PlIYaiCIANS. 

Tho tirat person who settled in Loicesfer as a physician 
was Dr. Thomas Green; whom I have already mentioned in 
another part of this work. 

John Honbywood was here before 1753. He was born in 
England ; but at what time he came to this coimtry, I am 
unable to determine. He taught a school here three and a 



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188 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

half quarters in 1753. In 1761, he was married to Ehzabeth, 
daughter of Judge Steele. He lived about half a mile west 
of the Meeting-house, in a house formerly Judge Steele's, 
afterwards that of Edward Eawson, Esq. His reputation has 
come down to us as having been a learned and skilful phy- 
sician, and, although somewhat irregular in his habits, as 
having held a high rank in his profession. His early educa- 
tion and associations (although there was a mystery in regard 
to the circumstances under which he left England, and it was 
generally supposed he had been there involved in some poli- 
tical difficulties) led him at first to regard the resistance of 
the Colonies to the mother-country as rash and unadvised ; 
and these impressions were strengthened by the influence of 
Judge Steele, his father-in-law. But, it is said, when he saw 
the spirit with which the people of the Colony rushed to 
arms at the time of the Lexington alarm, he was convinced 
that he had been mistaken, and, in language rather strong to 
be repeated, expressed his belief that they would fight, and, 
what was more, that they would not be conquered. At any 
rate, he evinced his devotion to the cause by entering the 
army as a surgeon ; and died while in the service, at Ticon- 
deroga, in November, 1776. He had four children; one of 
whom was St. John Honeywood, who is hereafter noticed; 
one (Mary) married Mr. Nathaniel Lyon of Woodstock, for- 
merly of Leicester ; and one (Elizabeth) married Samuel 
Allen, Esq., of Worcester, in 1810, — for many years the wor- 
thy and most estimable treasurer of the county. With her 
the name disappeared, and the family became extinct. 

Pliny Lawtos was the son of Christopher J. Lawton, Esq., 
already mentioned ; was born in Suffield, Conn., and removed 
with his father to Leicester in 1735. In 1748-9, he was em- 
ployed fifteen months in teaching school, though then called 
" doctor." 

In 1753, he married Lucretia, daughter of Jonathan Sar- 
gent ; and, in the same year, purchased the farm on which his 



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HISTOltY OF LKH'ESTKR. 189 

father had lived, in the westerly part of the town. But he 
afterwards removed to the house which Judge Steele built, 
at the comer of Flip Lane; where he was residing at the time 
of his death. This, it is supposed, took place, from the fact 
that his inventory was returned in February, 1761, about the 
close of the year 1760. He died of the amall-pox ; and so 
great was the terror which that disease created at that 
period, that he was not allowed to be bnried in the general 
cemetery, hut in his own field, on the east side of Flip Lane, 
about twenty rods from the Great Road, where his head- 
stone was standing till within a few years, though it has 
now wholly disappeared. He had two sons, — James and 
William. He died in the vigor of manhood. His widow 
married the Eev. Mr. Conldin in 1769. His son Witiiam 
became a physician. 

Solomon Parsons was the son of the Rev. David Parsons ; 
and was born April 18, 1726. He taught the school in town, 
nearly a year, in 1751. In 1752, he married Elizabeth Taylor, 
who was bom in 1734.* At one time, he lived in the house 
opposite Mrs. Newhall's, half a mile north of the Meeting- 
house; but, in 1776, was living in what was called the Gage 
House, on the road leading by Joseph Whittemore's, opposite 
where the road turns to go to the Jabez Green Place. He 
waa a deacon of the church, as well as a practising physician ; 
though the remoteness of liis residence from the centre of 
the town did not indicate that hia practice was an extensive 
one. He had three children; one of whom (Elizabeth) 
married Jonathan Hubbard, Esq., of Paxton ; at whose house 
he died, March 20, 1807, at the age of eighty-one. His son 
Solomon is mentioned in another part of this work. His wife 
died the same year as Dr. Lawton (1761), and of the same 
disease ; and her husband was obliged, from the terror that 



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190 IIISTOllY OF LEICESTER. 

it created, to bury hor by tlie aid of a single assistant, and 
in the nighttime. 

Isaac Greek was a son of the Dr. Thomas Green already 
mentioned. He was born in 1741, and studied medicme with 
his father. He married Sarah Howe, and built and occupied 
the house where Charles Barton lives, in the south part of the 
town. His professional practice was not extensive, nor did 
he attain any particular eminence as a physician. He was 
a surgeon in Col. Samuel Denny's regiment in 1777; and 
marched to Saratoga, and was in the service at the time Bur- 
goyne was taken. He was much respected as a citizen of the 
town ; and died at the age of seventy-one, in November, 
1812, He left two daughters, but no son. 

Edward Rawson was born in Mendon in 1754, and was the 
son of Edward Rawson, Esq. He commenced practice in 
Leicester in 1782. He married Margaret, a daughter of 
Judge Steele; and was a successor to Dr. Honeywood, who 
had married her oldest sister. He lived in the house which 
Judge Steele had occupied, and in which his father after- 
wards lived, west of the Meeting-house. He had three 
children,— -two daughters and a son (Benjamin Pemberton). 
His wife died in September, 1784; and he in 1786, at the 
early age of thirty-two, just as his character, and skill in his 
profession, were developing themselves. 

Absalom Russell was in practice here in 1777 and in 
1781 ; and, in the former year, purchased of Aaron Lopez 
the house formerly of Peter Silvester, on the east side of 
Meeting-house Hill, where there is now a cellar. How long 
he was in business in the town, I have been unable to ascer- 
tain. He was a surgeon in Col. Doolittle's twenty-fourth 
regiment of Massachusetts troops, in the "eight months' ser- 
vice," in 1775. He married Sarah, a daughter of Dr. Frink 
of Rutland ; and his daughter Elizabeth was born here in 
December, 1778. She married the Hon. Lovell Walker of 
Templeton. He removed to Paxton from Leicester after 



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cp'^^i.^Zi^-,,, ii'^^C^.^^ 



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HISTORY OP LIUCESTKR. 191 

1781 ; but at what precise time, I have not ascertained. His 
wife died at Uutland, December, 1801. Her husband had 
died a short time previous. He left two sons, — Salario and 
Absalom. 

Robert Craige studied medicine with Dr. Thomas Green, 
whose daughter Martha he married in 1753. He was the 
father of Nathan, mentioned in this work. He lived in the 
south part of the town. How actively he was engaged in his 
profession, I am unable to state. For many years before his 
death, he lived upon his farm. 

Jeremiah Larnbd was a practising physician here a few 
years. He was born in Oxford ; settled here ; and died of a 
consumption, at an early age, in the spring of 1783. 

William Lawton, a son of Dr. Pliny, studied medicine, and 
commenced business here as a contemporary with Dr. Lamed. 
He did not remain long in town. He occasionally visited it 
afterwards with his family, and was here in 1788 and 1792; 
but I am unable to state where his residence was after leaving 
Leicester. He was born April 9, 1759 ; but I have not ascer- 
tained the time of his death, 

Thomas Hersey was in practice here in 1794. His wife 
Esther died that year, at the age of twenty-two; but I am 
unable to give any further account of him, except that lie 
lived in the west part of the town.* 

From the brief notices we have given above of the physi- 
cians who have been residents in the town, it will be per- 
ceived, that, after the time of Dr. Thomas Green, there were, 
occasionally at least, three in practice here at the same time, 
A practical change in this respect was wrought under the ad- 
ministration of Austin Flint. He removed in April, 1783, to 
Leicester from Westmoreland, N.H., whore he began practice, 
and lived for a short time. 



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193 HISTORY 01' LEICESTER. 

He was the son of Dr. Edward Flint of Shrewsbuiy, a 
physician of eminence and extensive practice, who had been 
a surgeon in Col. Ruggles's regiment in the Canada expedi- 
tion in 1758, and afterwards in the Massachusetts troops at 
Cambridge in 1775. 

He was born in January, 17G0 ; and was, consequently, 
twenty-three years old when he came into town. He had, 
however, gone through some of the experiences peculiar to 
the young men of that day. At the age of seventeen, he 
shouldered his musket, and marched to join the Northern 
Army at Stillwater. He served for the term of three months, 
and was present at the battle of the 7th October, 1777, and 
witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne. In that expedition he 
belonged to Capt. Ingolsby's company, in Col. Job Cushing's 
regiment. In 1781, at the age of twenty-one, he was sur- 
geon of Col. Luke Drury's regiment ; and was in the service, 
stationed at West Point, from July to December of that year. 

In June, 1785, he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Col. 
William Henshaw ; and, the same year, erected the house in 
which he lived tiU 1831 ; when he removed into the house upon 
the opposite side of the street, in which he died. His former 
house was taken down, and a new one erected in its place, by 
Mr. Joshua Clapp. But the spirit he manifested in earlier 
life never fiiHered or failed him. Wherever public duty caUed, 
he never hesitated to follow. In the unhappy outbreak of 
the people of the interior of Massachusetts in 1786-7, he was 
a firm and fearless supporter of the government ; and in Fe- 
bruary, 1787, joined Col. Newhall's regiment at Hadley, in 
the words of his journal of that date, "to help drive the 
mobites home ; " and was in the memorable night-march, 
under Gen, Lincohi, from Hadley to Petersham, which re- 
sulted in dispersing and crushing out that ill-advised enter- 
prise. 

He commanded such confidence in his profession, that, for 
many years, he was not only without a competitor in his own 



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HISTORY OF LElCESTEa. 193 

town, but was often called into the neighboring towns in the 
way of his business. 

As an intelligent, well-informed man, of strong will and 
indomitable courage, he could hardly fail to exercise a com- 
manding influence in the community around him. Not only 
was that the case, but he shared very generally the personal 
confidence of hia townsmen : so that, during the active period 
of his life, he was, almost conste,ntly, in places of public and 
private trust, — clerk of the town ; moderator of its meetings ; 
representative in the Legislature; appraiser, executor, ad- 
ministrator, guardian, and the like ; in which, it is believed 
his fidelity or honesty was never called in question. 

From 1812 to 1817, he was a representative in the Gene- 
ral Court. For twenty successive years, he was tho mode- 
rator of the town-meetings ; and for fifteen, I believe, town- 
clerk. From 1815 to 1831, he was a member of the Board of 
Trustees of the Academy; and, for some thirty years an 
acting magistrate. 

In the sick-room he was always a welcome visitant, by 
his quiet and pleasant cheerfulness and humor. While exert- 
ing an acknowledged influence over all classes, no child ever 
passed him in the street without a kindly recognition ; and, 
in his social intercourse, he was everywhere welcome by his 
free and affable manners, and his fund of anecdote and good 
sense. 

He survived till the 29th of August, 1850; retaining his 
mental faculties, and, when not suffering from a most pain- 
ful disease, his cheerfulness, to the last. His last entry in his 
journal, a few days before his death was, " Appetite is gone, 
and I am running down quite fast." 

His wife died in July, 1827, aged sixty-three; but the de- 
clining years of his life were cheered by filial devotion. His 
son, Joseph H., an eminent and skilful physician, died four 
years before him. Dr. Flint was succeeded in his business 
by his son,— 



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194 HISTORY Ol'' LEICESTER. 

Edward Flint. Ho commenced business here in 1811. He 
was born in 1789, Nov. 7. In 1817, he married Miss Harriet 
Emerson of Norwich, Vt. ; and has a son, John Sydenham, a 
physician in Eoxbury. 

The rank and position which Dr. Flint sustains in the com- 
munity have been the natural result of the many years of 
honorable and successful pursuit of the profession of his 
choice to which he devoted himself. 

Dr. Jacob Holmes came into town in November, 1 834, from 
Hubbardston ; to which town he had removed from Athol. 
He was born in "Worcester, and studied his profession with 
Dr. Whiten of Winchendon. He practised some years in 
Westminster before living in Athol. He purchased and occu- 
pied a part of the house formerly erected by John Wilder, 
and afterwards that of Mrs. Washburn; where he died, Dec. 
11, 1847, of apoplexy, aged sixty-nine. 

Dr. Holmes was a distinguished physician, and was justly 
esteemed in his profession as well as in private life. He had 
earned his reputation before he left Athol, where a principal 
part of the more active period of his life was spent ; but he 
had lived long enough in his newly adopted home, at the time 
of his death, to win the respect of the people of the town. 
His daughter, Catherine E., married Eev. Francis T. Pike of 
Rochester, N.H., in 1839, but died soon after. His daughter 
Elizabeth died March 29, 1849. His wife alone survives of 
the family. 

Several other physicians have engaged in business here, for 
longer or shorter periods of time, within a few years ; among 
whom was the now Rev. Isaac R. Worcester of Auburndale. 
He married Mary S., daughter of the late Col. Henry Sar- 
gent ; and, after having been in practice here as a physician, 
studied theology, and gave up his original profession. 

Dr. C. W. Whitcomb, after a year or two, removed to 
Worcester, 

Drs. James P. C. Cummixgs and E. A. Daggett have also 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



195 



been practising pliysicians here, but have removed from 
town. Dr. Cummings went to Fitchburg, where he died 
in 1858; and Dr. Daggett returned to Maine. 



JUSTICES OF THE PEACE. 

Those who have held this office previous to 1850, in town, 
so far as I have been able to ascertain, were — 

William Ward in 1728. 

Thomas Steele . . . pi-evioiis to 1748. 

Daniel Henshaw . 1773. 

Edmund Eawson 1775. 

Hezekiali Ward 1782. 

Seth Washliurn , 1784, 

William Henshaw 1790, Qiiorimi, 1793. 

David Henshaw 1792. 

Joseph Dorr 1798. 

Ebenezer Adams ] 803. 

Thomas Denny 1802. 

Nathaniel P. Denny 1804. Quorum, 1815. 

Austin Fhnt 1811. 

Bradford Sumner 1817. 

Emory Washburn 

Waldo FliQt 

Horatio G. Henshaw 

David Brigham 

Daniel Knight 

Joseph A Denny 

Henry A. Denny 

Cheney Hatch 

Hiram Knight 

Besides the above, I have reason to believe that Judge 
Minzies, John Lynde, jnn., Thomas Denny, sen., Joseph Hen- 
shaw, Col. Samuel Denny, and some others, were commis- 
eioned as magistrates. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



GRADUATES AT COLLEGES. 



I give below the names of all who have become citizens of 
Leicester, and have graduated at any college, so far as they 
have been ascertained : * — 



Rev. David Parsons IT, 

Hon. Thomas Steele H. 1730. 

Kev. David GkHidard ....... H. 1731 

Rev. Joseph Roberts H. 1741. 

Col, Joseph Henshaw H. 1748. 

Rev. Benjamin Conklin N.J. 

Rev. Benjamin Foster, D.D Y. 1771, 

Hon. Phinehas Bruce Y. 1786. 

Ebenezer Adams, Esq D. 1791, 

Eev. Zephaniah S. Moore, D.D. ... D. 1793, 

Rev. Luther "Wilson "\V. 1807, 

Rev. John Nelson, D.D W. 1807, 

Bradford Sumner, Esq B. 1808. 

R«v. Josiah Clark IV. 

David Brigham, Esq H. 1810. 

John Richardson, Esq H. 1813. 

Daniel Knight, Esq B. 1813. 

Eev. Josepk Muenscher, D.D. . ■ . . B. 1821. 

Luther Wright, Esq. t Y. 

Rev. Amos D. Wheeler, t W. 1828. 

Joseph L. Partridge, Esq. § W. 1828, 

Eev. Samuel May H. 

George F. Bigelow, M.D. || . . . . . W. 1843. 

Rev. Andrew C. Denison Y, 1847, 

Rev. Amos H. Cooledge A. 



* Seyaral gtadoates of college hare been employed hate tempornrily as 
■whose names are omitted, because not coming witliiii the pnryiew of the 
f Mr. Wright was preceptor of tlie Academy from 1B3S to ISBS. 
i Mr. Wheeler is ininiBter of a Bociety in Topaliam, Me. 
§ Mr. Partridge was preceptor of the Aoademy from 1830 to 1B4B. 
II Now B physician in Boston; son of Jacob Bigelow, Esq. 



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HISTORY OP LEICESTER. 197 

The following is, I believe, a complete list of the persons, 
natives of Leicester, who have graduated at any college ; and, 
of these, Eeuben "Washburn and John F. Adams left town in 
early life, and were residing, one in Putney, and the other in 
Hanover, when they graduated. The same is true of Josiah 
Clark, whose home was Rutland when he graduated. St. 
John Honeywood, who is noticed in this work, Yale, 1782. 
Nathaniel P. Denny, Harvard, 1797. Samuel Swan, H., 1799. 
Daniel Honshaw, H., 1806. Keuben "Washburn, Dartmouth, 
1808. Waldo Flint, H., 1814. John F. Adams, D., 1817. 
Emory "Washburn, Williams, 1817. Josiah Clark, son of Rev. 
.Tosiah Clark, at one time principal of the Academy (now 
principal of an academy in East Hampton), Y. Thomas 
Denny, son of Col. Thomas Denny (now of the city of 
New York), H., 1823.- Winthrop Earle, son of Winthrop, Y., 
1826. Andrew Denny, M.D., son of Nathaniel P. {now a 
physician in Alabama), Amherst, 1831. Joseph Sargent, son 
of Col. Henry (now in successful practice as a physician in 
"Worcester, M.D. and M.M.S.), H., 1834. Henry Sargent, 
brother of the above, M.D. and M.M.S. (late a physician in 
"Worcester, deceased), H., 1842. "William A. Smith, son of 
Mr. John A. (now assistant clerk of the courts of Worces- 
ter), H., 1843. John S. Flint, M.D., son of Dr. Edward (a 
physician, now in practice in Roxbury), H., 1843. John N. 
Murdoch, M.D., son of Doacon Joshua (now a physician in 
Paxton), W., 1846. Arthur S., a son of Mr. Henry A. Denny, 
Brown, 1854. John N, Meriam, son of Reuben Meriam, Am- 
herst. 

It will be perceived, that, while other professions and call- 
ings in life have been represented by these graduates, not one 
has been a clergyman. 

Of the foregoing graduates, a few deserve something more 
than the notice of their names. 

Joseph Hensiiaw was the son of Daniel Henshaw, the first 
of the name who settled here. He was born in Boston, 1727; 



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198 HISTORY OF Lr.ICESTEE. 

was grEidnated at Harvard, 1748 ; and was engaged in sea- 
faring life, having the command of a packet-ship plying 
between Boston and London. 

In 1755, he had a singular experience in his naatieal life. 
It being a time of war between England and Prance, his 
vessel was taken by a French frigate, and ordered home to 
France as a prize. He was himself transferred to the frigate 
which had captured his vessel. The next day she encoun- 
tered an English frigate, and, after a severe engagement of 
four hours, was herself taken. The Enghsh frigate, with its 
prize, sailed for London ; and, the next day after her arrival, 
Mr. Henshaw's vessel, which had, like himself, been retaken, 
arrived at the same port. 

In 1772, he erected the house upon Mount Pleasant, after- 
wards tlie seat of Major Swan; and removed into it, from 
Boston, in the spring of 1773. At the commencement of hos- 
tilities, he held the office of lieutenant-colonel of the regiment 
commanded by Ool. Artemas "Ward, and marched with it at 
the Lexington alarm to Cambridge. He remained there on 
duty about a month and a half, and applied for a similar 
rank in the new regiment of eight-months' men, under the 
same colonel. The Provincial Congress, however, preferred 
the claims of Jonathan AVard of SouthboTough ; who was 
commissioned accordingly, and Col. Henshaw returned home. 
Col. Joseph, it will be recollected, was an older brother of 
Col. William Henshaw, who commanded a regiment of minute- 
men who marched to Cambridge on the same occasion, and 
became adjutantrgeneral of the troops. About the close of 
the war. Col, Joseph Henshaw removed to Shrewsbury ; 
where he resided until his death in 1794. His wife was 
the daughter of Joshua Henshaw, Esq., who is noticed in 
this work. 

The subject of this notice was one of the little band of 
leading and influential men who infused into the counsels and 
I of this town so much spirit and harmony. His 



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HISTORY or LEICESTiLK. 199 

family and personal connections with tiie leading men in 
Boston made him early apprised of the measurea which ori- 
ginated there ; and some of the most spirited resolutions and 
instructions which were adopted by the town, were, as is 
believed, from his pen. 

Hia brothers, and his uncle Joshua Henshaw, are noticed in 
other parts of this work. He was a delegate from Leicester 
to the first and second Provincial Congresses, in October, 1774, 
and February, 1775; and a leading member of those bodies. 

Ebehezbb Adams, Esq. was born in New Ipswich, N.H., in 
1765 ; was graduated at Dartmouth in 1791 ; never studied 
any profession, but engaged in teaching. He was preceptor 
of the Academy from May, 1791, to July, 1806; when he re- 
moved to Portland. In 1809, he became a professor in Dart- 
moiith College, and resigned in 1833. After that, he lived in 
retirement until his death in August, 1841. 

While in Leicester, he exerted a leading influence in the 
town, and enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the people to 
a marked degree. He was appointed a justice of the peace, 
and was the first postmaster of the place. 

Through life, Professor Adams sustained a high reputation 
as a teacher, as a professor, and as a gentleman of stanch 
principle, of fearless regard for duty, of great dignity and 
courtesy of manner ; one remembered with pleasure and 
respect by all who knew him. 

Mr. Adams married Ahce, daughter of Dr. John Frink of 
Rutland ; who died in June, 1805, aged thirty-seven. She left 
five children ; only one of whom, John F., survives ; the others 
having all Mien victims to consumption before the period 
of middle life. Mr. Adams owned and lived upon the place 
now belonging to the Rev. Mr. May. 

Hev. JosiAH Clark was born in Northampton in 1785 ; was 
graduated at Williams College in 1809 ; succeeded Mr. Wilson 
as principal preceptor of the Academy in 1812, having been 
1 preceptor tlie three previoue years. In 1818, he was 



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200 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

settled as minister of the Congregational Church and Society 
in Rutland; and remained their pastor till his death in 1845. 

He was faithful in all his trusts ; an excellent citizen, a 
devoted minister, and a most estimable man. His principal 
connection with the town was as a teacher ; and in that capa- 
city he displayed eminent qualities, winning the love and 
respect of his pupils, and exerting a salutary influence in train- 
ing their intellects and cultivating and improving their moral 
powers. 

Bev. Luther Wilson was horn in New Braintree ; gradu- 
ated at Williams College in 1807; the same year, was English 
preceptor of the Academy; and, from 1809 to 1812, was its 
principal preceptor. He was settled as a minister in Brook- 
lyn, Conn.; resigned his place after a few years; and now 
resides upon his farm in dignified retirement in Petersham. 

He married Sally, daughter of Abijah Bigelow, Esq., of 
Barre, — a sister of Mrs. Dr. Nelson of Leicester. He owned 
and lived upon the place now owned by the Rev. Mr. May. 

John Richardson was a native of Woburn ; was graduated 
at Harvard in 1813; was principal of the Academy from Fe- 
bruary, 1819, to August, 1833 ; when he resigned, and removed 
to North Andover, where he resided till his death in 1841. 

During most of his residence in town, he owned and occu- 
pied the place where Mr, Edward Knowles lives, formerly 
owned by Dr. Moore. 

St. Johh Honeywood, the son of Dr. John Honeywood, 
was born in Leicester, Fob. 7, 1763. By the death of his 
father and mother at an early period of his life, he was left, 
not only an orphan, but penniless, and dependent on the 
kindness of his friends. By their aid he was enabled to fit 
himself for college ; and entered Yale, where he soon won the 
warm friendship of its president, Dr. Stiles, who received 
him into his own family. 

He graduated with high honor and reputation for scholar- 
ship, and went to Schenectady to engage as a teacher of an 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTIIK. 201 

academy. He remained there two years, and then went to 
Albany, where he commenced the study of the law with Peter 
W. Yates, Esq., and remained with him two years. After his 
admission to the bar, he establiahed himself in Salem, in 
Washington County ; and continued in the practice, with an 
honorable reputation, for ten years. 

Like most young men of promise in New York, he was 
seduced into the arena of poUtics, which interfered somewhat 
with hia success at the bar. He belonged to the old Federal 
party, and was one of the electors for President when John 
Adams was elected to that office. 

He died at the early age of thirty-four, Sept. 1, 1798. He 
married a daughter of Col. Mosely of Westfield, Mass. ; but 
left no children. 

This brief outline gives but little idea of the characteristic 
traits of Mr. Honeywood's mind or genius. I say, genius ; for 
he gave early evidence of having been endowed by nature 
with the eye of a painter and the sensibility of a poet : and 
although he did not cultivate these in maturer life, except, 
as matters of pleasant relaxation, his friends were aware that 
he might have attained to eminence in either department 
of art. 

Among the anecdotes that used to be told of his early days, 
ho was taken to church one Sunday, and, while there, was 
greatly attracted by the appearance of an old man with a 
very peculiar physiognomy, who sat in the next pew. Instead 
of listening to the sermon, his aunt was scandalized to detect 
him in trying to twist his own face into the expression of the 
old man near him. On reaching home, she accordingly began 
to read him a lecture on deconim of conduct, which he had 
little comprehension of having violated ; and, as soon as it 
was over, he went into another room, and in a few minutes 
returned with a pen-and-ink sketch, which was so exact a 
likeness of the face which had attracted him, that his fault 
was forgotten in the delight which the picture gave his 



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202 HISTOKY OF LEICESTER. 

foster-mother. His taste led liim to caricature ae a painter ; 
and, though without any instruction in his art, he produced 
some historical pieces of merit. 

As a poet, he was the author of many happy and sprightly 
effusions ; and gave such evidence of talent as to win a place 
among the poets of America. A volume of his poems was 
collected and published, in 1801, from manuscripts left by 
him ; and contains several pieces which are still read with 
pleasure. 

He had from his childhood ma y f tl entricities which 

are supposed to mark the poss n f g n us ; but he had 
a warm heart, a delicate and refin 1 n b Ity, ready wit and 
humor, and was much regarded a mpan n and friend. 

Reuben Washburn, though b n u tt town, Dec. 30, 
1781, early removed with his &ther, Asa Washburn, to Putney 
in Vermont. He has for many years lived in Ludlow in Ver- 
mont, where he has held a good rank as a lawyer ; and, at 
one time, was a Judge of the County Court in that State, 
Age has done little to impair the vigor of his mind, or the 
accuracy of his judgment or memory. 

Phihbhas Beuob was the son of Georgo Bruce, and born 
in 1762. He was graduated at Tale in 1786. He studied 
law, and married a sister of Hon. James Savage of Boston. 
He estabhshed himself in Machias, then a new region ; and 
soon rose to a good degree of eminence in his profession. 
He was a member both of the House of Representatives and 
the Senate of Massachusetts, and took a leading position and 
rank there. 

He was a man of fine address and most agreeable qualities, 
and commanded the public confidence, as well as the personal 
esteem of his friends. In 1803, he -was elected to Congress, 
but declined the election; and, upon a second election, was 
again chosen to the same Congress, but never took his seat 
in that body. He was stricken down by insanity, brought 
on by ill-health and over-exertion in his profession ; from 



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HISTOKY or LElCniSTER. 203 

which hi3 never sufficiently recovered to resume his profes- 
sion. He died Oct. 4, 1809, at the age of forty-seven. 

Daniel Hbnshaw was a son of William Henshaw, and was 
born May 9, 1782 ; was gi-aduated at Harvard, 1806 ; and 
read law in part with Nathaniel P. Denny, and in part with 
Judge Paine. He was in business twenty-one years in Win- 
chendon. In 18S0, he resided in Worcester; and afterwards, 
for several years, in Lynn, where he had the inana.genient of 
a piibhc newspaper, — the "Lynn Record." On becoming 
an editor, he gave up his professional business, and continued 
for fourteen years in the arduous and responsible place of 
leading editor of a paper; and, after that period, often 
contributed valuable and interesting articles, chiefly of a 
biographical or historical character, to sundry newspapers, 
which wore read with interest.* 

A distaste for public life deterred him from suffering him- 
self to become a candidate for office; but, with the command 
of the pen of an easy and vigorous writer, he made his influ- 
ence felt to an extent to which few mere office-holders could 
ever attain. After his connection with the paper in Lynn 
had terminated, he removed to Boston, where he now lives. 
Delicacy, therefore, forbids me to speak of him beyond the 
few public acts of his life. He married Miss Deborah Stark- 
weather of Worthington, who died in 1851, leaving one son 
and two daughters. 

Samuel Swan, son of Reuben Swan, was born May 6, 1778 ; 
was graduated at Harvard in 1799 ; studied law with Natha- 
niel P. Denny, Esq., and Judge Paine ; and settled in Hub- 
bardston, where he still resides. He married Miss Clara Hale 
in November, 1812 ; and a son of his is now a practising 
lawyer in Worcester, another a merchant in Boston. 

John P, Adajk was a son of Professor Adams, before 



II hftppj to aokiiowladgo ray iudebtedneEa to him for inivlcviuls for Uie 



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204 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

named. He was bom in 1800 ; was gracluatecl at Dartmouth 
in 1817; was employed for a year aa asBistant preceptor; 
studied law, and practised the profession several years in 
Mobile. Resides in Washington, D.C. 

"VViNTHBOP Eahle was the son of Winthrop Earle ; was born 
in 1807. He was graduated at Yale in 1826 ; but died of con- 
sumption, Nov, 9, 1828, aged twenty-one. He was a young 
man of good promise and fine moral qualities ; and his loss 
was much lamented. 

Austin Heesey, son of Calvin, entered Dartmouth College 
in 1813, and remained till near the close of the four years, 
but did not graduate. He died in Philadelphia, Aiig. 30, 
1825, aged twenty-eight. 

. Samuel D. Green, Esq., son of Samuel Green, entered, and 
was a member of, Brown University till his senior year ; when 
he left college, and entered upon active life. He now resides 



Among the persons born in Leicester, who have become 
suIBciently distinguished to be proper subjects of notice in a 
work like this, was — 

Hon. William Upham. — He was the son of Samuel Upham, 
who lived where the late Deacon Eockwood died, in the 
south part of the town. At a considerably later period, he 
removed with his family to Vennont ; and died in 1848, aged 
eighty-seven. His son William had the misfortune to have 
his right hand crushed in a cider-miU while a child ; and was 
subjected, from the necessity of the case, to the rather original 
surgical process of having the shattered parts of the bones 
trimmed off with a hatchet in the hands of the operator. It 
disabled him from pursuing a life of labor, for which he had 
been intended ; and he turned his attention to obtaining such 
an education as was within his means. He was a student at 
the Academy in town during the years 1799 and 1800. After 
his removal to Vermont, he studied law with the late Judge 
Prentiss, eind became his partner in business. He resided in 



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HISTORY 01'' LEICESTEK. 20o 



Montpelier. He iittajned to a high rank in liis proi 
and was a very successful jury advocate. He possessed a 
great share of wit and humor, and occasionally indulged in 
sarcasm with telling effect. He was a social, pleasant, and 
a.greeable companion ; and had acquired such a degree of 
popular favor and confidence, that, upon his fonner partner 
being appointed District Judge of the United-States Court, 
Mr. Upham became his successor in the United-States Senate. 

After sei-ving out the balance of the term for which he was 
chosen, he was re-elected ; 'and died, while a member of the 
Senate, at Washington, July, 1853. 

Mr. Upham did not speak often in the Senate ; but, when- 
ever he did, it was with muoh force, directness, and eflect 
He was stanch and reliable in his political opinion?, and 
commanded attention as an independent thinker, and an out 
spoken representative of New-England sentiment He never 
lost his interest in the place of his nativity, and visited it 
often enough to keep alive his early memories and asso- 
ciations connected with its localities. 

Hon. David Henshaw was a son of David Henshaw, Esq. ; 
and was born April 2, 1791. His early education was con- 
fined to the common school and the academy. At a suitable 
age, he went to Boston as a clerk or apprentice with Messrs, 
Dix and Brinley, druggists ; and afterwards commenced and 
carried on business on his own account in that city, for many 
years, with great energy, enterprise, and success. He was, 
at the same time, diligently engaged in cultivating his mind 
by study, and by application to books. 

He was a vigorous writer, and wrote much for the public 
papers, and several more extended articles which he pub- 
lished in pamphlet form, and which gained him much credit 
at the time. 

In 1826, he was elected a member of the Senate from Suf- 
folk; which was the higher mark of confidence, inasmuch as 
he was always a most decided advocate of political seiiti- 



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206 IIISTOllY or LEICESTER. 

ments and opinions adverse to what had been the prevailing 
sentiments of the people of that county. 

In 1829, he was appointed collector of the port of Boston 
by President Jackson, and held the office nine years to the 
acceptance of all who had occasion to do business with that 
department. He had great practical experience, with high 
executive qualities, and brought these successfully to bear 
upon the orderly and systematic management of the affairs 
of the office. 

President Tyler appointed him to the department of the 
Navy, in his cabinet ; and he had the charge of it long 
enough to evince eminent talents and qualifications for the 
place. From the relation, however, in which President Ty- 
ler stood to the political parties in the Senate, that body 
failed to confirm Mr. Henshaw's appointment ; and he retired 
to private life. 

Here, however, he was by no means inactive. He took a 
leading part in promoting in Massachusetts the railroad inte- 
rest, then in its infancy. He turned his attention to agricul- 
ture, and the improvement of his farm, which had been his 
father's before him. Though unmarried, he surrounded him- 
self with a large circle of family friends ; to whom, as well 
as to all who visited him, he was kind, liberal, and hospi- 
table. 

He represented the town in the General Court in the -^ > tr 
1840 ; made the Annual Address before the "Woicestbi Agri- 
cultural Society in 1847 ; and, though much of the time 
struggling with hereditary disease of a painful and piosti'it- 
ing character, he continued to exert an acti\ e influence m 
the community till his death, in 1852, at the age of si-vtj- 
one. He was a self-made man, and achieved for himself 
wealth, political influence and power, and an unquestioned 
reputation for mental vigor, and energy of purpose, of no 
ordinary character. 

RoBBKT SouTHGATE was a son of Steward, and a grandson 



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HISTORY or LEICESTnii. ^2I)^ 

of Richard who came into town from England in March, 
ni8. He was born Oct. 26, 1741 ; and studied medicine. 
In mi, he went to Scarborough, Me., travelling on horse- 
back ; and settled there in the practice of his profesBJon, 
which he pursued, for several years, with high reputation 
and much success. He became an extensive landowner, 
and acquired a handsome estate; and gradually withdrew 
from the practice of his profession. 

He married, in 1773, Mary King (then in her sixteenth 
year), the daughter of Richard King of Scarborough, sister of 
Bufus King (so distinguished afterwards in public life), and 
half-sister of William and Cyrus King, — the one a governor, 
and senator in Congress ; and the other a representative in 
Congress from Maine. 

About the close of the last century, he was appointed a 
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas ; and filled the office, for 
several years, with great acceptance to the bar as well as the 
public. He died Nov. 2, 1833, aged ninety-two. He had 
been the father of twelve children; one of whom (Horatio) 
was the father of Bishop Southgate, recently of Boston. 

Ralph Earle desei-ves to be remembered as a man of fine 
genius as a painter; and, among other marks of the estimate 
in which he was held, was his election as a member of the 
Royal Academy of London. He was the son of Ralph, and a 
grandson of the first Ralf Earle who settled in Leicester, 
the ancestor of most of the famibes which have borne that 
name in the town. 

He was born May 11, 1751. I have been unable to trace 
the pi'ogress of Mr, Earle in the art which he cultivated. In 
Dunlap's work upon the "History of the Arts of Design 
in the United States " is a notice of Mr. Earle as an artist, in 
which he is spoken of as having painted portraits in Connec- 
ticut in 1775 ; and among his works were " two full-lengths " 
of Dr. Dwigbt, painted in 1777. The writer represents Mr. 
Earle as having marched to Cambridge, in 1775, as one of the 



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208 HISTORY OF LKICKSTKR. 

" Governor's guard " of militia : and, soon after, to Lexington. 
The military part of his history is obviously apocryphal in 
many respects, if not in all ; as the men who marched to 
Cambridge were any thing but the Oovemor's guards, and 
the marching to Lexington is generally supposed to have 
preceded that of the troops to Cambridge. 

But, in respect to hie history as a painter, the writer is 
much more accurate, and furnishes some curious facts of much 
interest. Mr. Earle executed, from sketches taken upon the 
spot, four hlBtorical paintings ; believed to be the first histo- 
rical paintings ever executed by an American artist : one, 
the battle of Lexington ; one, a view of Concord, with the 
royal troops destroying the atorea ; one, the battle of the 
North Bridge in Concord ; and one, the south part of Lexing- 
ton, where tbe first detachment was joined by Lord Percy. 
These paintings were engraved, and published by Amos 
Doolittle of New Haven, Conn., who was with Earle at Cam- 
bridge, and is said to have been a soldier there with Earle, 
under Col. Arnold. 

It is certainly no slight distinction to have been the first 
American historical painter, even if his works at the present 
day should be found to be of inferior intrinsic merit as works 
of art. How this is, I am unable to state : but, soon after 
the peace, we find him in England, pursuing his art under the 
instniction of his countryman, Sir Benjamin West ; and such 
was hia success, that he was elected, as has been stated, a 
member of the Royal Academy in London. 

He returned to this country in 1786, and continued to 
pursue the business of a painter in different parts of Massa^ 
chusetts, New York, and Connecticut, He left several works 
that gained him much credit ; and among them was a large 
one, the " Falls of Niagara," which was much admired. He 
painted for tlie late Col. Tiiomas Denny a landscape of much 
merit, and great fidelity of representation, embracing the 
beautiful and picturesque view that spreads out towards 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 209 



the east from the mansion-hoiiBe on the old Denny Farm, so 
called ; which is still preserved, and in good condition. His 
productions were chiefly in the line of portraits, many of 
which might have formerly been foxmd in Northampton and 
Springfield. Among his last works of this kind were portraits 
of Governor Strong and family. 

He died in Bolton in Conn., in October, 1801. His habits, 
unfortunately, stood between him and that eminence in hia 
profession which genius had originally placed within his 
reach. I quote, from the writer mentioned, his professional 
estimate of his qualities as a painter: "He had considerable 
merit ; a breadth of light and shadow ; facility of handling, 
and truth in likeness. But he prevented improvement, and 
destroyed himself by habitual intemperance." 

James Earle, brother of Ralph, possessed much of the 
genius and talent of the latter ; and is alluded to by the same 
author (Dunlap), who is utterly confused and mistaken in 
respect to him. At one time, he represents him as an English 
gentleman who painted portraits in Charleston, S.C., about 
1792 ; that Sully saw him when a boy, and, when he went to 
London, saw his widow, and gave her an account of his death 
by yellow fever. In a subsequent statement he confounds 
him with Ralph, and concludes there was but one of the 
name. The only respect in which he was correct was in 
his having been engaged as a portrait-painter ; and having 
died in Charleston, S.C, of yellow fever. This took place in 
September, 1796; and, in a notice of his death, he is spoken 
of as " an eminent painter." 

They both left families ; but it was Ralph who married in 
London, while pursuing his studies there. Mr. Dunlap's 
work contains an extended notice of his son Augustus, — an 
eccentric artist of great promise, who was a friend and asso- 
ciate with Leslie and Morse, who wore fellow-students with 
him. Ralph left his wife and children in London when he 
returned to this country. 



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HISTORY Of LEICESTER. 



CHAPTER VII. 



NUMBERS AND NAMES OF SOLDIERS IN THE FEENCH AND REVOLU- 
TIONARY WARS. — COMMITTEES OF CORRESPONDENCE. -NAMES OF 
EARLY SETTLERS, &c, — PERSONAL NOTICES OF OFFICERS, SOL- 
DU'IKS, PROMINENT CITIZENS, AND OTHERS. 

I HAVE made considerable effort to learn the names of those 
who have been citizens of Leicester, and were at any time in 
the service of the Crown, the Province, the Provincial or the 
Continental Congress ; but my researches have been far from 
satisfactory. I give below the names of such as I have been 
able to ascertain, with such an account of them as the mus- 
ter-rolls and other sources of information afforded me. 

In 1722, a part of a company were stationed in this town to 
guard its inhabitants from the Indiana ; and among them were 
Thomas Newhall, one of the earliest settlers in the town ; and 
William Ward, who then belonged to Marlborough, but after- 
wards removed to Leicester. They were sergeants in the 
company. Ward was much employed afterwards as a sur- 
veyor, and is noticed elsewhere in this work. 

In 1724, a part of Capt. Chandler's company were stationed 
in Leicester to guard the inhabitants ; twenty-nine men, with 
out commissioned officers. 

The French and Indian war of 1744-8 called into requi- 
sition great numbers of Provincial troops, especially the 
expedition against Louisburg in 1745. From the general 
interest which that expedition excited, I have reason to' be- 
lieve that a considerable number of men were engaged in it 
belonging to Leicester. I have ascertained the names only 
of a few. 



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HISTORY OP LKICESTER. 211 

Oapt. John Brown commanded a company, and was at the 
surrender of Louisburg. 

James Smith* was also a soldier there, and died in the 
service. 

Samuel Calif was, I believe, a soldier in the same ; biit I 
have been unable to iind the rolls of that expedition. They 
may have been sent to England as vouchers for the claims for 
compensation made by the colonists for expenses incurred in 
its prose en ti on. 

In September, 1746, an order from CoJ, John Chandler, ad- 
dressed to Capt. Nathaniel Green, " in his Majesty's service in 
Leicester," J reqnired a draught from his company of twenty- 
five men without delay, with ammunition and fourteen days' 
provision, to march to Boston to repel an anticipated French 
invasion. The order was executed ; but I am not in posses- 
sion of the names of the persons draughted. 

In December, 1747, a detachment of troops was stationed 
at Colraine to guard against the Indians — among whom was 
Nathan Whittemore of Leicester — from December to tho 
following April. 

In the year 1747-8, there was a detachment of troops sta- 
tioned at Fort Massachusetts, near what is now Williamstown, 
to guard that pass against the incursions of the -western 
Indians upon the frontier settlements. Among them was 
James Smith,§ Moses Peter Attair,|| and James Itichardson.l 
Besides these, several from this town had enlisted, the same 
year, into what was called " the Canada expedition," whose 
names I have not ascertained. 

Another French war broke out in 1754, and an expedition 



■ He liyed upon the fann recently ovraefl by Eobart Watson. 
f KemoYBd from Maiden, Bttd lived in the south part of tJie t 
daughter of Cnpt. Nathaniel Green. 

J Kde copy of the order in the geaeihgy of N^ithaniel Gi-een. 
§ Son of James who died at Louisburg. 
II Called servant of John White. 
1 Son of Thomas Riuliardson. 



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212 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

under Col. Winalow was sent to the eastern frontier to over- 
awe tlie Indians. In this, Nicholas M'Daniel, Benjamin Mer- 
ritt, and Benjamin Edmunds, were soldiers from Leicester, 

Silas Eowker waain the expedition against Crown Point, in 
1755, under Lord Amherst. 

In the spring of 1756, measures were taken to organize a 
powerful expedition to march to Crown Point. Eleven men 
were enlisted from Leicester. There was found to be a 
deficiency in the requisite number, and four more were en- 
listed from the town. Their names were Daniel Watson, 
Perley Brown, Blias Bowker,* Francis Stone, John Presson,-|- 
Ebenezer Washburn,^ Nathaniel Sargent, John Cole,§ Samuel 
Wicker, Josiah Eobinson, James Bacon, Luke Converse, Ste- 
phen Bell, James Graton, and John Bowker. 

Knight Sprague, then of Hingham, afterwards of Leicester, 
was in the same expedition, as is stated in another part of 
this work. 

In July, 1756, the following were soldiers in Col. Ruggles'a 
regiment at Fort Edward : Thomas Handy, |1 sergeant ; Fran- 
cis Stone, who seems to have re-enlisted; John Ryan,! John 
Cole, re-enlisted ; Samuel Pike, Joseph Merritt,** Thomas 
Bridge. 

In August, 1756, at Fort William Henry, in Cul. Ruggles's 
regiment, the following belonged to the army : — 

Samuel Call, Alexander Calhoon, Joshua Smith, Elijah Wil- 
son, Daniel Jones ; Samuel Wicker, sergeant ; Perley Brown, 
corporal; James Lamb,+t tben of Charlton; Caleb Barton, 
then of Oxford, afterwards of Leicester. Nathaniel Harrod 



• MnirlBd n sister of Col. Waslibum' 
f Wn3 eighteen; born in Fvamiiighan 
X Brother of Col. Solh Washburn. 
4 Born in Concord ; cuiied iaborer. 
11 Born in Ireltmd ; onlled trader. 
TT Born in Ivelnnd ; ItAorer. 
« Born in Soituate; oordivainer; twf 
tt Twenty-three years old; bocn in L 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



213 



joined the army in Septomber. The term of enlistment of 
these men continued till Dec. 21, 1756. David Smith, Sihia 
Waite, and Thomas Gleason, ■were impressed with Harrod, 
and joined the army with him. 

Nathan Parsons, son of Rev. David, then of Cold Spring, 
waa a sergeant at the eurrender of Fort William Henry, 
Aug. 9, 1757. 

In the same year, Samuel Call, sergeant ; John Brown, do. ; 
William Green, ensign; Jabez Swan, corporal ; Elijah Dewing, 
Israel Green, Michael Nagels, Nathaniel Parmenter, Darby 
Eyan, James Trumbull, Ephraim Taylor, James Calhoon, pri- 
vates, — were in the service from Leicester, in Capt. Joseph 
Cheny'a company. 

The number of officers and soldiers from the town, in 
the last great struggle with the French which resulted in the 
capture of Quebec in 1759 and the conquest of Canada the 
following year, considerably exceeded any former levies for 
the army. Among them were Samuel Call, James Brindley, 
Silas Bellows, John Call, John Dean, Benjamin Elhs, Samuel 
Garfield, Nathaniel Harwood, James Hill, Jason Livermore, 
John Poore, Joseph Byan, Edward Saunderson, James Steb- 
bins, Joseph Shaw, Thomas Sargeant, Nehemiah Scott, Jonar 
than Stoddard, Oliver Segur, Nathaniel Thompson, John 
White, and John Watson. Thomas Steele was surgeon's 
mate in Brig.-Gen. Ruggles's regiment in 1759. In 1760, 
James Taylor (then of Greenwich, born in Leicester), Peter 
Harwood, Eliphalet Harwood, John Earle, Ezekiel Earle, 
Oliver Newton, and Timothy Howe. 

Joel Cutler, William Dunton (servant of Solomon Par- 
sons, who was probably surgeon of the regiment to which 
they belonged), and Ebenezer Saunderson, were in the ser- 
vice ; the last from April, the two first from July to De' 
ber, 1761. 

In 1762, from July 5 to Nov. 14, Timothy How, and, 
from March to November, Ebenezer Smith and Benjamin Ellis, 



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214 HISl-ORY or LEICESTER. 

were soldiers in an expedition which was sent into the coun- 
try west of North Kiver. 

William Henshaw was a lieutenant in Capt. Jeduttan 
Baldwin's company of the Provincial troops, from March to 
November of 1759, at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, as is 
more fully stated in another part of this work. 

Jacob AVashbum, who came from Bridgewator, and lived 
in the north part of the town of Leicester, was a lieutenant in 
the French War. He was son of Gideon, and cousin of 
Seth. 

SOLniERS ENGAGED IN SERVICE IN THE WAH OP THE 
REVOLUTION. 

It is not supposed that the list -which I here present is by 
any means complete. Such as are here recorded have been 
chiefly ascertained by a recurrence to the Revolutionary 
rolls. 

I find there were twenty-seven draughts for soldiers, to- 
wards which Leicester supplied two hundred and forty-seven 
men, between May, 1775, and June 28, 1780. Subsequent 
draughts were made, which I suppose were principally an- 
swered by the classes into which the town was divided ; one 
of which, July 19, 1781, 1 have found for six men. 

This does not embrace the company of minute-men under 
Capt. Washburn ; nor the standing company, nnder Capt. 
Thomas Newhall, who marched to Cambridge on the 19th of 
April, 1775; nor the dmughta made by resolves of Jan. 26, 
1777, for six months; June 5, 1780, for three years; Dec. 2, 
1780, for three and iive months ; June, 1781, for three years ; 
or March, 1782, — the numbers of which I have not ascer- 
tained. 

The minute-men belonged to a regiment of which William 
Henshaw was colonel ; Samuel Denny, lieutenant-colonel ; and 
John Southgate, adjutant ; all of whom marched to Cambridge 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



215 



on the 19th of April. Col. Henshaw'a pay waa made up for 
thirty-four and a half days; Lieut. -Col. Denny's, ten and a 
half days ; and Southgate's, nineteen and a half days. 

Col. Artemas Ward commanded a regiment of men ; and 
Joseph Henshaw, then of Leicester, was his lieutenant-colonel, 
and marched to Cambridge on the 19th of April, and re- 
mained one month and ten days in the service there. 

For some reason not explained, but much to hia dissatisfac- 
tion, in organizing the " eight months' men " into regiments, , 
Jonathan Ward of Marlborough WEks appointed, in Col. Arte- 
mas Ward's regiment, lieutenant-colonel in place of Lieut.- 
Ool, Henahaw. The Provincial Congress decided the ques- 
tion on the 25th of May against Col. Henahaw ; but Col. Arte- 
mas Ward had been commissioned on the 19th May. This 
probably terminated the period of Col. Joseph Henshaw's 
service. 

The members of the Leicester Company of Minute-men, 
who marched on the 19th April, 1775, were — 



Seth Washburn, captain. 

William Watson, 1st lieutenant. 

Natlianiel Harrod, 2d lieutetitint. 

Samuel Watson, sergeant. 

Henry King, „ 

Ebenezer Kent, corporal, 

JoaaChaa Newliall, „ 

Benjamin Converse. 

Abner Dunbar. 

Thomas Parker. 

Ambrose Searle. 

Jesse Green, 

Jonas Southgate. 

Samuel Richardson. 

Jesse Smith. 

Peleg Hersey. 

John Brown, 

WiUiam Grossman. 

Hezekiah Saunderson. 

Daniel Hubbard. 

Abijah S towers. 

Adam 6110101%. 



David Ncwhall. 
Daniel Denny, 
Ebeneaer Saunderson. 
Elijah Coming. 
Elias Green. 
John Weaver. 
Isaac Livermore. 
Jonathan Salient. 
Job Stetson. 
James Greaton. 
Morris Higgina. 
Nathan Craige. 
Phinchas Green. 
Perley Brown. 
Stephen Taylor. 
Samuel Sargent. 
William Brown. 
David Sargent. 
Jason Livermore, 
James Tucker. 
Jonathan Jackson. 



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216 



HlSTOltY or LEICEfiTKR. 



Seth Washburn, then of Wilbrahani, a son of Capt. Seth, 
was among those who marched to Cambridge on this alarm. 
The members of the Standing Company, who marched the 



Thomas Neivhdl, caplain. Thomas Snow. 

Benj. Eicliardson, 1st lieu lenant Thomas Gi'een. 

Ebeneaer Upham, 2d lieutenant, Reuben Lamb. 

Loring Lincoln, sergeant. Phinehas Barton. 

Isaac Choate, „ Caleb Nichols. 

Jamea Whittemore, „ David Carpenter. 

Phinehas Newhail, corporal. Reuben Earle. 

Phinehas Sargent, „ Wait Upham. 

Pet«r Silvester, jon, Richard Bond. 

Jonathan Johnson. Reuben Swan. 

Nathaniel Richardson. Solon Gi-een. 

Moses Hovey. Isaac Livermore, jun. 

Micah Livermore. Daniel Sargeant. 

Elijah Howe. Elijah Cumings. 

Jonathan Sai^ent, jun. Israel Saunderson. 

Elislia Ward. John Weaver. 

Benjamin Leviston, Daniel Newhail. 

On the 23d April, 1775, the Congress resolved to raise 
thirteen thousand eix hundred men immediately, from Massa- 
chussetts, for its defence. Enlisting papers were prepared on 
the 24th, and printed; and the enlistments began the same 
day. Gapt. Washburn signed, on the 24th April, the one for 
raising the company which ho was to command. The term 
of service was to be eight months ; the number of men in 
each company to be fifty-nine, including three officers. The 
names of the Leicester men who enlisted into this company 
were as follow : — 

Seth Washburn, captain. 
Josepli Livermore of Spencer, ] 

lieutenant. 
Loring Lincoln, 2d lieutenant. 
Peleg Hersey, sergeant. 
John Brown, „ 

Aaihony Sprague, „ 



William Grossman, s 
Hezekiah Saundei-son, corporal. 
Daniel Hubbard, „ 

Elijah Soulhgate, then of Speii 

coi'poral.* 
Elijah Torrey, fifer. 
Joseph Washburn. 



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HISTORY OF LEIC'ESTEIi 



Aljijab Stowers, 
Adam Gil mo re. 
Daniel Newhal], 
Daniel Deony. 
Ebenezer Suunderf 
Elijah Conyei-se. 
Elias Green. 
Isi-ael Saunderson. 
John Weaver. 
Isaac Livermore, j 
Jonathan Sargeat. 
John Stetson. 
James Grreaton. 
Morris Higgins. 
Kathan Craige. 



James Richardson. 
■William Brown. 
James Tucker. 
Phinelias Green. 
Phiiichas Green, juii, 
Pcrley Brown. 
Stephen Taylor. 
Karnuel Sargenf. 



Abnc 



Liv 



Daniel S 
Jason Li verm 
Jonathan Jackson, 
Matthew Jackson. 



Tho liFiknce of the company wcro enlisted from other 
towns, — seven from Spencer, three from Paxfcon, four irom 
Oakham, two from Holden, two from Weston, one from 
Worcester, one from Brookfield, and one from Gloucester, 

The promptness with which the Leicester men enlisted, 
and the proportion of the two companies then at Cambridge, 
if it had been followed by the troops from the other towns, 
would have rendered the new general order of the 27th April 
unnecessary. This called upon all who were not enlisted, and 
intended to remain, to enlist afc once ; with an assurance that 
they should be officered by those appointed by the Committee 
of Safety until the particular regiments and companies were 
completed. 

The field-oiBcers were charged to see that o-m-fifik part of 
the training soldiers of each town from which the companies 
came, should be immediately enlisted out of the troops as- 
sembled in camp ; and, if a sufficient number could not be 
enlisted agreeable to an equal quota, the deficiency of such 
quota should be immediately forwarded by a recruiting officer 
to each town ; and, in the mean time, a sufficient number 
of troops present should be retained until the quota of the 
troops for this Province should be raised. 

By the 8th May, there had been thirteen regiments offi- 



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218 HISTORY Of LEICESTER. 

cered. One of them was called "Gen. Ward's;" and, to 
that, Capt. Washburn's company was attached. 

The proportion of one-fifth of the troops in the trainband 
of the town would not have been over twent_y; whereas 
twenty had enlisted before the date of the second order : 
ten enlisted on its date, and seven before the middle of May, 
besides six who enlisted in other companies ; making forty- 
seven in all. 

The above order explains why numbers of the Minnte 
Company and that of Capt. Newhall were retained in service, 
as many of them were, after the companies were actually dis- 
organized by the enlistments for the eight months' service. 

Of the men who were thus enlisted from Leicester, all 
except Thomas and John Green, who did not enhst until 
July, and William Brown, James Tucker, and Daniel Sargent, 
who had left the company, were present at and took part in 
the battle of Bunker Hill, on the 17th June, under Capt. 
Washburn, 

William Brown enlisted into Capt. Burbank's company of 
artillery, in Col. Gridley's regiment, as corporal, on the 15th 
June, and was in the battle. Perley Brown enlisted in the 
artillery at the same time, hut was with this company in the 
battle. Nine of the above were supplied by the Province ; 
all the others by themselves. 

On the 5th September, orders were issued for organizing 
a detachment of officers and men to march to Cana,da, under 
Gen. Arnold, by the way of the Kennebec River. Among 
the volunteers from Leicester in that enterprise were Morris 
Higgins from Capt. Washburn's company, and Thomas Whit- 
temore from Capt. Williams's company, in Gen. Heath's regi- 
ment. 

Besides the above, I find the following names of Leicester 
men in the " eight-months' " service : Elijah Green, who died 
in the service, at Eoxbury, December, 1775, aged sixteen; 
Andrew Brown, in Col. Larned's regiment; Keuben Earle, 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 219 

in tbe same company ; Bicliard Lamb, in Capt, Lamed'a com- 
pany; Nicholas M'Daniel and "Waite Upham, — the two last 
in the artillery, Poster'a company. 

Dr. Absalom Eusaeli was in the same service as a surgeon's 
mate, in Col. Doolittle's regiment. He joined the regiment on 
the 21st July. Steward Sonthgate was a second sergeant in 
the same service. The term of this service expired in De- 
cember, when a new enlistment of men toolt place for two 
months ; and sixteen men from Leicester joined a company, 
under the command of Capt. Seth Washburn, which was sta- 
tioned at Dorchester. The major being absent, Capt. Wash- 
burn performed the duty of that oiTicor by reason of his 
seniority in office. 

1 am unable to givo the names of these sixteen, as I am of 
many of the twenty-six subsequent draughts. A second en- 
listment for two months, after the expiration of the first, was 
made ; and Capt. Washburn still continued in command of a 
company. 

In January, 1777, a company was raised, of which Adam 
Martin was captain ; * William Grossman, lieutenant ; f and 
Joseph Washburn, ensign, — the two latter officers from 
Leicester. The company was attached to Col. Bigelow's fif- 
teenth regiment, in the Massachusetts line of Continental 
troops; and were enlisted for three years, or during the 
war. 

Among the members of tho company from Leicester woj'e — 

Asa Harrington, February, 1777. During the war. 

James Tucker, April, 1777. During the war. Was sei^eatit ; served 

fortj-four months. He was under Col. Rufus Putnam at West 

Point in 1781, together with Harrington. 
John Hubbard, March, 1777. During tlie war. Was a hJaok njaii. 



1 was wounded a 



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220 HISTORY OF LEiCKSTER. 

Jethro Jonea, Apvi!, 1777. During fliu war. Was a black man, thirty- 
three years old. 

Solomon Parsons, March, 1777. Diii-iiig the war. Was wouiuleJ at 
Monmouth, and id noticed Imreaf'ter. 

Zephaniah Tueker, April, 1777. 

Among the names of those to whom boniitiea wore paid by 
the town, on their enlistment into the Continental service for 
three years, I find, besides the above,- — ■ 

William, Toily. Enlisted January, 1777. 

Ehjah Cummings. Enlisted January, 1777. Was in Capt. Smith's 
company, thirteenth Massachusetts regiment. 

Waite Upham. Enlisted January, 1777. 

Asa Waite. Enlisted January, 1777. Was in the service four years ; 
a part of the time, in Capt. Brown's company, whose name was Ben- 
jamin. He was sergeant in tlie sixth light infantry, 

Otlio Silvesl^r. Enlistod February, 1777. Was in Brown's com|iany 
for during the wax. Died May 20, 1778. 

Israel Saunderson. Enlisted February, 1777. Was in Capt. Brown's 
company, corporal. Served four years. 

Asa Souther. Enlisted February, 1777. Was in Brown's company. 
Served forty-seven months; corporal, six months. 

Benjamin Chamberlin. Enlisted Mai-ch, 1777. Was in Capt. Brown's 
company, a sergeant, eighth regiment, Col. Michael Jackson. 

Elisha Gill. Enlisted March, 1777. 

Abijah Stowera. Enlisted April, 1777. Enlisted in Bi-own's company 
during war. Served twelve and ahalf months. Died in the army. 

Jesse Harwood. Enlisted April, 1777. Was in Capt. Brown's com- 
pany. 

Timothy Earle. Enlisted April, 1777. Was in Brown's company. 
Died in the army, Nov. S, 1777. 

Elisha Wood. Enlisted April, 1777. In Brown's company. Served 
three yeai'3. 

Patrick M'Mann. Enlisted January, 1777. 

Gershom Comings. „ „ „ 

John Davis. „ November, 1777. 

Stephen Witt, „ December, „ 

Samuel Wood. „ November, „ 

John Eares. „ Januaiy, 1778. 

Samuel Low. „ „ „ 



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HISTORY OF LKICESTEl!. 221 

Abraham Huet, Enlisted Januai-y. 1778. 

Kichard Hill. Enlisted January, 1778. Was in Capf. Brown's com- 

Eobert Green. Enlisted January, 1778, 

In September, 1777, a detachment of troops was ordered 
to join the Northern Army, and rendezvous at Claverack, in 
the Provincial service. CoL Samuel Denny was detailed to 
command the regiment. Dr. Isaac Green of Leicester was 
surgeon. The term of service was for a single month ; but 
in June, 1778, a detachment from Col. Denny's regiment was 
made for nine months, and marched to Pishkill. The follow- 
ing Leicester men were in it (they were between the ages 
of twenty and twenty-six) : Zachariah Smith, Joseph Yinton, 
John Edmunds, William Sargent, James Graton. 

In 1779, June 23, the following Leicester men joined Capt. 
Marshall's company in the "Continental service" (they were 
between the ages of nineteen and twenty-three): Levi Chil 
son. Pardon Dolbee, Hosea Sprague, James Snow, and Wil 
Ham Webber. 

In the return for January, 1781, of the troops enlisted for 
three years, or during the war, is the name of Daniel Cobum 
of Leicester, in the light dragoons. 

James Tucker was returned as sei^eantin Capt. Iloudin's company.* 
Thorata Saundersoii, di-umiaer, in the same company. 
Israel Saunderson, corporal, in the sixth light iniantry. 
Asa Souther, corporal, in fourth company. 
Asa Waite, sei^eant in sixth light infantry. 

Several of the men who enlisted in Capt. Martin's company 
had by that time been transferred to Capt. Houdin'a company, 
in the fifth regiment. Thomas Seaver of Leicester was at 
that time, with James Tucker and Asa Harrington, in Col. Eu- 
fus Putnam's Masaachnsetts regiment at West Point. 

' Hondin was a Frenchman, who cams over anil joined our nrmy, and received 



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222 HISTORY or TJUCES'I'EK. 

In July, 1781, seven men from Leicester enlisted into the 
Continental service for the term of three months ; viz., Jo- 
tham Smith, Isaac Denny, Ebenezer Upham, Asa Matthews, 
Asa Green, Mai-shall Newton, John Hapgood Howe. Some 
of these were not quite sixteen years of age. 

The same summer. Dr. Austin Flint, then of Shrewsbury, 
was surgeon of Col. Drury's regiment at West Point, from 
July 26 to Dec. 20, 1781. He had been a soldier iu the army 
at the surrender of Burgoyne, in October, 1777, 

Col. William Henshaw, the adjutant-general of tlie troops 
at Cambridge until the arrival of Gen. Washington, has been 
mentioned at length in another part of this work. 

Daniel Davis of Leicester was in Col. Brooks's regiment 
in 1777. 

James Eichardaon, James Redfieid, and David Bryant, were 
in Col. Wade's regiment of Massachusetts State troops, sta- 
tioned at Hhode Island, one year from January, 1778. 

The roll of Capt. Woodbridge's company, in the thirteenth 
Massachusetts regiment, has the name of Ebenezer Lane, as 
enlisted during the war from Leicester, 

Isaac Robin'^on enlisted in Capt. Brown's company, eighth 
regiment, foi three years. He died in the array, after ten 
and a half months' service, Feb. 14, 1778, 

Ben)\mm Biown * was captain of a company of Continental 
ttoopb in the eighth (Col. Michael Jackson's) regiment. He 
was m command of the company from January, 1777, to July 
23, 1779 , when he resigned. 

Joseph Washburn was in the service from Jan. 1, 1777, to 
Dec. 31, 1779, — three years ; of which time he was twenty-six 
months ensign, and ten lieutenant. He was at the taking of 
Burgoyne at Saratoga, and afterwards in the army under 
Gen. Washington in New Jersey. Among the persons to 
whom Leicester paid bounties in April, 1779, was Amos 

* He was a son of Capt. Jolin Brown of Leicester. 



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HISTORY Oi' LEICESTKll. 223 

Gleason. Abel Green was in the three years' service in 
1779. 

The company which Capt. Martin had commanded* was 
called, in the returns of 1782, " the Major's company." There 
was one company in the regiment called " the Colonels ; " and 
one, the " LieutenantColonels." 

John Holden was an officer in the Continental service from 
January, 1777. He was in the storming party under Gen. 
"Wayne, which took the works on Stony Toint ; one of the 
most gallant, daring feats of the whole war. 

Peter Salem, who is noticed in another part of this work, 
and who, while a soldier, belonged to Framingham, was in 
Capt. Holden's company in 1779; and Cain Bowman, who had 
been a slave in Leicester, was mustered as a soldier in 1778. 

Among those who received pensions for services in the 
Revolutionary Army were Elijah Southgate and Jonas Stone, 
then living in Shrewsbury, though belonging- l;o Leicester 
before their removal to that town. 

Besides those already mentioned as members of Capt. Mar- 
tin's company in September, 1777, at Albany, then under com- 
mand of Ensign Washburn, were the following belonging to 
Leicester :— 

Elias Green, enlisted for cigdt mouHis. 
Phinehas Green, „ „ „ „ 

John Green, „ „ „ ^^ 

Pliny Groen, „ „ „ 

I havo before mentioned Seth Washburn, son of Col. Setli, 
iis having marched to Cambridge in April, 1775, from Wilbra- 
liam. He afterwards lived in Hardwick; and in July, 1777, 
was a soldier in an expedition to Providence and Rhode Island. 
In August, the same year, he marched to Bennington in Col. 
James Converse's regiment. He was afterwards in the ser- 
vice, and died in the army, in New York, on Governor's Island. 



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224 msroia or Leicester. 

In the regiment of Col. Brown, in the eight montha' service 
in 1775, Ehenezer Washburn, brother of Capt. Seth, who had 
removed from Leicester to Hardwick, was quai-termaster. 

In July, 1780, a draught of seventeen men was made from 
Leicester to join the Continental Army for six months in Capt. 
Frothingham'a company of artillery, in the fourth division. 
The following young men were drawn, then being between 
the ages of seventeen and twenty-one, — only four as old as 
twenty -one : — 



John Sargeaiit. 
Thomas Harmon. 
Pai-doa Dolbee, 
Ebeiiezer B. Uphai 
James Trumbull. 
Daniel Brown. 
Luther Ward. 
Isaac Morse, jun. 
Abiel Johnson. 



Gershom Cnmraiiigs. 
BuDJiuiihi Hubbard. 
Hosea Spi-ague. 
John Green, 
Joseph Washburn, jun.* 
James Smith. 
John Hasey. 
Abijah Craige. 



I find the memorandum of an order of July 10, 1781, in 
these words : " Lieut. Josiah Brown ordered to go with the 
men to Yarmouth for three montha." 

The same date, " Lieut. Nathan Craige ordered to go with 
the men to Rhode Island for five months." But the names 
of those who constituted the companies or detachments in 
either of the above requisitions, I cannot ascertain. 

After the expiration of his time in the eight months' ser- 
vice, Mr. Craige joined the company of Capt. Prouty, Col. 
Cushing's regiment, in 1777, and marched to Bennington ; 
from there to Half Moon, on North Eiver ; and returned to 
Bennington the day of the battle, but after its close. 

He was at the surrender of Burgoyne. After that, he was 
a sergeant in Capt. Harrington's company at Eoxbury ; and 
was detailed upon the guard over Burgoyne's men, then pri- 
Boaers of war. 

He was iive months at Newport, in 1781, in Capt. Elliot's 



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HISTORY 01' LEICESTER. 225 

company, in Col. Turner's regiment. The captain belonged 
to Sutton. 

Samuel Sargent, who married Capt. Waahburn'a daughter, 
was in the same company, and messed with Mr. Craige at the 
taking of Burgoyne. 

William Todd of Leicester was commissioned as captain of 
a company of artillery in October, 1776. John Southgate 
was his " captain-lieutenant." The company was the eighth 
in the regiment, and was raised partly in Leicester. It was 
attached to Col. Craft's regiment, and was in service two 
or more years. They were stationed, some of the time, at 
Boston, some at Dorchestei- ; twice were ordered to Rhode 
Island ; and, in the autumn of 1777, took part in an engage- 
ment with the enemy at Tiverton. 

David Henahaw, brother of Col. William, commanded a 
company in the same regiment as Capt. Todd. 

Col. William Henshaw, after retiring from the army in 1775, 
was appointed lieutenant-colonel in Col. Little's regiment of 
Continental troops in April, 1776 ; and accepted office at the 
personal solicitation of Gen. Washington. He joined Gen. 
Green's brigade at New York ; had an engagement with the 
enemy at Flatbush ; was with Gen. Washington's army at 
Trenton, Princeton Battle, &c. He was also in the battle of 
White Plains : but of this more has been said in the notice 
of Col. Henshaw in this work ; my object being chiefly to 
enumerate the men, and their rank in the army, who belonged 
to or were immediately connected with Leicester. 

Among those to be mentioned indiscriminately, because it 
is not known to what companies they were attached, was 
Peter Silvester, jun., who was at Saratoga at the taking of 
Burgoyne. 

Joseph Bass was in the " water-sorvice," under Com. Tup- 
per in 1776, and was engaged in an attempt to destroy the 
British frigates in North Hiver, of which an account is given 
in this work. Elijah Hersey and Nathaniel Sargent were 



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236 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

soldiers in the service. Oapt. Livingston was paid by the 
town for the expense of a horae " to go to the taking of Eur- 
goyne ; " and the presumption ia that he was accompanied by 
a part or all of the company under his command. 

The company of artillery commanded by David Ifenshaw, 
already mentioned, was organized in September, 1776, and at- 
tached as the tenth company to the regiment of Gol. Thomaa 
Crafts, It belonged to the Continental establishment in the 
three years, or during-the-war service. Upon the roll of that 
company I find the following Leicester men : viz., Peleg Hor- 
sey, sergeant; Nathan Green, corporal; Jabez Paine, Bailey 
Bond, Ebenezer Upham. 

In Capt, Todd's company, Samuel Sargent, son of Jonathan 
(to distinguish him from one of the same name already men- 
tioned), was enlisted; but in the muster-roll of December, 
1776, of that company, the only Leicester names it contains 
are William Laughton, (Lawton); Nathaniel Richardson ; Tho- 
mas Dunbar, sergeant ; Benjamin Leviston, corporal ; William 
Gilkey, Hosea Sprague, Andrew Scott, John Works, Abner 
Snow. 

Dr. John Iloneywood joined the army as a surgeon in Col, 
Brown's regiment, and died at Ticonderoga, while in the ser- 
vice, November, 1776. 

Dr. Isaac G-reen was a second time surgeon in the service 
at Saratoga, at the taking of Burgoyne, in October, 1777. 

Incomplete as the foregoing list may be, it speaks highly in 
favor of the patriotism and public spirit of the town, when it 
is recollected, that, in 1781, the whole number of names borne 
upon the " train" and "alarm-list" of soldiera in town, and 
capable of bearing arms, was but one hundred and fifty-one, 
of whom forty-nine were upon the alarm-list. 

COMMITTEES OP COEEESPONDEKCE, ETC. 

I am unable to ascertain when the first committee of this 
kind was chosen, or the names of its members. The sugges- 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 227 

tion of such committeea seems to have come from the House 
of Burgesses of Virginia. There was sucli a committee exist- 
ing here in December, 1773 ; and, in 1774, William Henahaw 
was its chairman. The other members were Thomas Denny, 
Joseph Henahaw, Benjamin Conklin, Hezekiah Ward, and 
Thomas Newhalh In 1775, Col. Samuel Denny was added, in 
May. The same year, in July, William Green, Samuel Green, 
and Joseph Sargeant, were added. 

In March, 1776, the committee consisted of Joseph Hen- 
shaw, James Baldwin, jun., Robert Craige, Benjamin Richard- 
son, and Loring Lincoln. 

In September, Hezekiah Ward and Robert Henry were 
added. 

In 1777, Joseph Henshaw, John Fletcher, Benjamin Rich- 
ardson,* James Baldwin, jun., Isaac Green, Phinehas Newhall, 
and William Henshaw, 

1778, Samuel Denny, William Henshaw, Joseph Sprague, 
Thomas Green, John Fletcher, Joseph Sargent, and Dr. Isaac 
Green. 

1779, Samuel Upham, Henry King, Benjamin Watson, Ma{> 
thew Scott, Jonathan Sargent. 

As tlie Constitution was adopted early in 1780, and a regu- 
lar government soon after organized, the committee last 
named were probably the last elected. f 

Their powers were undefined by any statute ; nor was 
there any precedent to guide them in the administration of 
their office. They derived their existence and authority 
from the condition of the country, and were discontinued the 
moment the necessity for such a body of officers ceased. 

• Mr. Eichardaon moved out of town in ITTT. 

t I find an eleoOon in 1IS2 of the Mlowmg pei-sona as a " Committee of Sftfety;" 
viz., WilliRm Earle, John Southgate, Thomas Newhall, Ebenazar Kent, and William 
Green. But the nature of their dnty is not stated. It pfobably answered to the old 
Coniroittee of Cori-aspondence ; and was intended to aid in fumisliing man and stores 
for the army, aa requisitions might be made. 



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228 HISTORY OF LKICES'I'iat. 

The early tax-lists furnish considerable information as to 
the general and individual condition of the people of the town 
at that day. Thns, in 1729, John Lynde was assessed for 
1,520 acres of land ; Samuel Green, 929 ; Richard Sonthgate, 
600 ; Thomas Steele, 736 ; William Ward, 500 ; William Green, 
425; Thomas Richardson, 313; James Sonthgate, 300; Thomas 
Newhall, 282 ; and Joshua Nichols, 270. 

In 1731, Richard Sonthgate, Thomas Newhall, Thomas 
Green, and Thomas Gill, were each taxed one shilhng for 
"negers;" which were set down in the list as "personal 
estate." 

In 1735, 1 find one tax assessed " to pay the schoolmaster," 
^21. 6s. 6d. ; another, "to pay the town's debts," X300; 
another, "the ministry rate for 1734," ^75; another, "the 
county tax," &1 ; another, "the Province rate," ^48. 16s. 8d. 
In March, 1736, a tax was assessed of ^30 " to pay Jonathan 
Sargent to entertain the Council." 

One thing to be remarked, in examining these tax-lists, is 
the singular equality of taxable property in the north and 
south parts of the town, as divided by the Great Post Road, 
Of the Province tax, in 1735, of £48. 16s. 8d., X24. 15s. 4d. 
were assessed upon those living upon the north side, and ^24. 
Is. 4d. upon those on the south side, of this line. 

Another thing to be observed is the general equality of 
wealth among the citizens of the town. Of the tax of ^6300 
in January, 1735, while no one was assessed more than i£8. 8s. 
lid., and only one as high as ^£8, one alone is assessed below 
^1 ; and only sixteen, out of a total of ninety-seven, were as- 
sessed below ^2, Probably the reason of the difference there 
was in the valuation between the north and south parts of the 
town was, that in the former there were fifty-four persons, 
and in the latter forty-three, to be taxed. 

In 1735, Onesephorus Pike paid the highest tax in town ; 
John Lynde, the next; Richard Southgate, the next; John 
M'Master, the next ; and Thomas Green, the next. 



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insroRY OF r,Etf:i.:sTi:K. 229 

There were thirteen taxes assessed between 1722 and 1729, 
including those years, amounting to more than ^1,000 ; illus- 
trating what I have elsewhere stated, — the heavy burdens to 
which the town was at first subjected.* 

The following families were residing here in 1721, and 
many of them at an earlier period: William Brown, John 
Burton, Aaron Bell, Joshua Barton, Bartholomew Curtis, Peter 
Carlisle, Arthur Carey, who came from Billerica, settled on 
Carey Hill, and removed to Brookfield; Daniel Denny, Ralf 
and William Earle, Samuel Green, John Peters, who came 
from Lexington ; David Parsons, the minister ; Thomas Rich- 
ardson and Nathaniel Richardson, from Maiden; Hezekiah 
Russ, from Lexington ; James and Richard Southgate, John 
Smith, from Weston ; Samuel, John, and Joseph Stebbins, from 
England; Thomas Smith, Moses Stoekbridge, from Billerica; 
William Green, William Keen, John Lynde, from Maiden; 
Daniel Livermore, from Weston ; John Menzies, Joshua Nich- 
ols, from Maiden; Thomas Newhall, from Maiden; James 
Smith, John Smith, jun., Samuel Thomas, Rowland Taylor, 
Adam Taber, James Wilson, from Lexington ; William Ward, 
from Marlborough ; and Thomas Weatcott and Oliver Watson. 

The following are mentioned in the records in 1722, though 
they were probably here prior to that date : John Boynes, 
John Potter, John Saunderson, Benjamin Johnson, and John 
Watson. 

In March, 1771, the selectmen made a report of the names 
of the persons who had come into town since April, 1767, 
with the places from which they came ; wliich, with two or 
three additional names, are as follow : — 

Zaccheus Ballard, from. Framingham, May, 1770. lie li;i<l a tiimily, 

and livecl on Ballard Hill, where there is now a cellai-. 
Jonathan Barton, from Spencer, April, 1774. 



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2S0 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Joseph Allen, from Boslon, November, 1771 ; :iftei-wiii-d^ of Worees- 

Maiy Alien, from Bosto!i, November, 1771. Married Rav. Mr. 

Avery, Holden. 
Samuel Allen, from Boston, November, 177 1 ; afterwards of Woivester. 

County ti'easurer, 
"William Croasinan, from Ilopkinton. Lived on the South Road, a 

short distance beyond Mrs. Hobart's. 
Adam Collins, from Pelham, N.H., 1769. 
Michael Carey, from Boston, spring, 1770. 
Jonathan Collier, from WeymoHib, 1770. 
Isaac Choate, from Ipswich, 1773. Lived at tiic Elliot Place, on tlie 

North County Road. 
Caleb Eai-le, fi-om Chester, N.Y., 1770. 
Thomas Faxon, from Braintree, 1770. 
Walt Fannel, stranger, 1769. 
Ezekiel Fosgate, from Bolton, winter, 1769. 'iViider ; built and traded 

in store on what is now the Common. 
Joseph Gleason, from Oxford, 1770. 
Semple Gilkey, from Plainfield, Conn., April, 1773. 
William Gilkey, Hannah hia wife, and Rebecca his daughter, from 

Plainfield, May 19, 1773. 
Daniel Hayden, fi-om Gloucester, E.T,, 1770. 
Sarah Hunt and Richai'd Hunt, children of Hayden's wife, from 

Gloucester, E.L, 1770. 
Cornelius Holton, from Union, Conn., 17(;9. 

Elijah Howe, from Paxton, spring, 17C9. On Mount Pleasant, oppo- 
site the Moore Place. 
John Boulster Hubbard, from Brinfield, 1769. 
Thomas Hammond, fi-om Newton, 1770. Afterwards removed to 

Vermont. 
Luey Hammond and Anna Hammond, from Newton, February, 1771. 
Jonathan Johnson, and Rachel his wife, from Peteraham, January, 177d. 
Silas Kendal, from Winchendou, 1770. 
Isaac Lynde, from Spencer, 1769. 
Hannah Niles, from Braintree, October, 1769. 
John Newhall, Dorothy Newhall, Mercy Newhall, and Phebe Newball, 

from Spencer, 1774. 
Alexander Parkman, from "Westb.irough, 1770. Clolliier, in Cherry 

Valley. 



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HISTOKY Of LKICKSTKii, 231 

Jonathan Phillips, from Oxfoi-d, 1770. 

John Phillips, fi'om Smithfield, R.I., 1771. 

Ebenezer Preacott, Jerusha his wife, Patience, Ebenezer, and Foiinne, 

children, from Paxton, December, 1773. 
James Eichardson, fi-om Spencer, 1768. 
Benjamin Sherman, from Swanzey, 1771. 
Thomaa Sibley, from Boston, 1770. 
Luther Torrey,from Abinglon, fall, 1770. 
Peter Valentine, from Plainfleld, Conn., 1773. 
Hezekiah Ward, from Grafton, 1768. Lived at what ia now the 

Town's Farm. 

In 1776, the town was divided into nine school districts; 
and the names of the several fiimiliea constituting these, ex- 
cept the ninth, were recorded. I have copied them, first, 
to show who were the active citizens of the town during 
the Revolution ; and, second, the places of their residence, 
which has already become, and will hereafter be more, a 
matter of interesting inquiry. 

FIEST DISTRICT. 

Thomas Steele lived at the Eawson House. 

Seth Washburn, where J. Loring lives. 

Elijah Lathrop, tavern ; where Hiram Knight's house is. 

Nathan Waite, tavern ; opposite Meeting-house. 

Benjamin Eichardson, where Mrs. S. Newliall lives. 

Joseph Allen, where the old Academy stood. 

Benjamin Conklin, where Mr. May lives. 

Peter Silvester, where cellar is on east side of Meeting-house Hill. 

Eeuben Earle, at tan-yard at foot of the hill. 

Pbinehas Sargent's farm, at Nathan Waite'a tavern. 

Joshua Grossman and William Grossman, cellar beyond Mrs, llohart's, 

on east side of the road. 
Richard Bond, house north of Eber Bond's. 
Benjamin Bond, south of the house where Eber Bond lives. 
Jonathaji Bond, house where S. Gleason lived, 
William Watson, where Mr. Lyon lives. 
James Graton, cellai' in pasture west of Eber Bond's. 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 



James HRrwood, cellar west of J. Gniton'n. 
Thomas Hutchiosoii, farm. 



Josliua Henshaw and Col. Joseph Henshaw, Mount-Pleasant House. 

Perley Brown, on M'lutire Farm ; house next east of schoolhouse, on 
the Great Eoad. 

Ephraini Mower and Tlioiiias Mower, farm foi'merly of Col. H. Sar- 
gent. 

Elijah Howe, cellar opposite Mowei-s'. 

Jonathan Sargent, jun., where Artemas Lamb lives. 

Nathan Hersey, next east of Capt. Trask'a. 

Elij.ih Hereey, Capt. Trask Place. Elijah Heraey built the Capt, 
Ti'Bsk House. 

John Watson's farm, next west of Capt. Traak's. 

Ebenezer Warven, where Elijah died ; was father of Elljali Warren. 

Jonathan Warren, where Jos. Wavreu lives. 

Thomas Newhall, where 'li. Watson lived and ilied. 

Richai-d Southgate, cellar west of Burntcoat Brook. Baptif^t Eldoi-. 

Richard Southgate, jun., where David Lumb lived. 

Anthony Spi'ague, old house near O. C. Silvester's. 

Ephraim Mower, jun., cellar north-west of Peter Silvester Place. 

John Brown, where Peter Silvester died. 

Nathsuiiel Harrod, opposite where William Silvester lives. 

'rilIRD DISTKICT. 

William Todd, the Henshaw Farm. 

Jolm Southgate, where he died, 

Richard Gleason, and Richard Gleason, jtin., cellar in S:irauel Waite's 

Pasture. 
Alexandei' Parkinan, where Rufus "Upham lived. 
Thomas Earle, where Heman Burr lives. 
Matthew Watson, saddler,; where N. Holman lives. 
Peleg Hersey, house near the Cutting House. 
Ebenezer Upham, shoemalter ; house where Shepherd lived. 
Joseph Sargent, house east of where Asa Sai'gent died, 
Nathan Sargent, where Sewall lives. 
Daniel Henshaw, opposite Edwin Waite's. 
David Henshaw built Edwin Waite's house in 1770. 
William Henshaw, Lynde Place. 



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HISTORY 01' LEICESTER. 333 

Nathaniel Wfute, Samuel Wuite Place. 

Mrs. Denny, widowof Thomas; the old Denny Farm, 

Robert Henry, Robert Young Place. 

Matthew Scott, farm south of Robert Young's. 

Judge Chandler's farm, 

FOURTH DISTEICT. 

Jabez Green, where Abel died. 

Antipas Earle, in the hollow west of Abei Green's. 

Gardner Earle, Gai-dner Wilson's. 

Ebenezer Kent, and Ebenezer Kent, jun., where Cai)t, Daniel Kent 

Robert Earle, the Pliny Earle Place. 

Robert Earle, jnn., house between Pliny and Timothy Earle Pla-^es. 

Joshua Silvester, where Erastus Wheaton lived. 

John Dunbai', where John Silvester lived. 

William Earle, Mathaniel Earle House. 

Loring Lincoln, howse east of A. Marshall's. 

John Wheaton, A, Marshall's ; formerly Silas Earlo's, 

Phinelias Newhall, tavern ; where Eddy lives. House removed, and 

new one built 
Reuben Swan, where L. G. Sturtevant lives. 



Heaekiah Ward, tlie Poor Farm. Moved to Paxtoii, and Timothy 

Sprague bought the farm. 
John Potter and Natlianiel Potter, Jonah Earle Place, west of Quaker 

Meeting-house, 
Joseph Sprague, Capt. William Spragae Place, 
Daniel Hubbard, whei-e Jaeob Bond died. 
Jabez Pain, next east of Jos. Whitteniore's. 
James Whittemore, Jos. Whittemore Place. 
Timothy Sprague, Holden Place, north of Hubbard's. 
Daniel Snow, old house south of B. TJpham's Place. 
Nathan Snow, George TJpham's ; formerly Barnard's. 
Sarah Denny, next nortli of Barnai-d Upliara. Afterwards raaiTied 

Seth Waslibum. 
Isaac Choate, the Elliot Place. 
Jonathan Knight, next to Horace Knight's house. 
Jacob Wicker, west of Mr. Knight's, on the Eddy Road. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



Samuel Doniiy, south side of Moose Hill. 

Thomas Snow, where Abner Snow died. 

John Watson and Samuel Wfltson, Asa B. Watson P 

Joshua Convei-se, cellar east of the Watsons. 

Benjamin Liviston, house gone ; where Joel Marsh li 

Dr. Solo Parsons, at the Gage Place. 

John Williams, next to James Whitteraore's. He wa 

Widow Sawin, west of Benjamin Livingston's. 

Jacob Briant, Jos. Bryant Place. 

William Thompson, favm north-east of Braddyl LI 

Widow Goodeaow, farm near Braddyl Livcrmore's. 

Jabea Green, jun., where Zolvah lives. 

Christopher Whealon, the David Wicker Pkce. 

Benjamin Saunderson, the George Bond Place. 

Benjamin Converee, the Eddy House. 

SEVENTH DISTRICT. 

William Green, Amos Whittemore Place. 

Thomas Green's farm, occupied by John Greafmi ; Elijah Thayei 

John Wilson, Mi-s. Kingsbury's Place. 

Deacon Fletcher, Jonathan Warren's old place. 

Gideon Smith, Elkanah Haven Plaee. 

Jonathan Newhall, opposite N. Craig's house, Sadler Place. 

John Brown, jun., Daniel Muzzy Place. 

Nathan Lumb, where Isaac Livermore died. 

Kev. M. Foster, where Caleb Barton lived. 

Dr. Isaac Green, Charles Barton's. 

Abijah Stower, Baptist Parsonage. 

Phinehas Barton and Cornelius Houghton, various places. 

Samuel Green, old Tavern House. 

Samuel Richardson, Copelaud Place. 

Ebenezer Upham, house next south of Deacon Eockwood's. 

Samuel Upham, Deacon Eockwood Place. 

Caleb Nichols, ou cross-road, north-west of Eben Dunbar's. 

Henry King, John King Place. 

Isaac Livermoi-e, at foot of Livermore Hill, west side of road. 

Jockton Green, Richard Bond, jun., Place. 



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HISTORY OF LEICKSTEE. 

Jonathan Newliall, jun., opposite Baptist Meeting-house 
Mioah Livermore, Daniel Livennore Place. 

EIGHTH DISTKICT, 

William Gilkey, the Trask Place. 
Matthew Scott, Eben Dunbar Place. 
Jonas Livermore, Salem'a Place. 
Benjamin "Watson, where he died. 
Nathaniel Richardson, Bridge's Place. 
Dr. Clark's fai'm. 
Eight femilies living in what is now Auburn, 

NINTH DISTIilCT. 

Names not given. Among them were — 



Solomon Green, in the Wilby 

Cottage. 
Thomas Parker, the John Parker 

Place. 
Benjamin Baldwin. 
James Baldwin. 



EbencKcr Baldwin 
Stephen Baldwin. 
David Baldwin. 
Jos. Trumbull. 
Peter Trumbnll. 
Eobert Craig. 



PEE90HAL KOnCES. 

Several of the persons contained in the foregoing list of 
families deserve a fuller notice than has thus far been given 
of them. 

Col. William Henshaw stands prominently among these. 
He was bom in Boston, 1735 ; and removed to Leicester, ivith 
his father (Daniel Henshaw, Esq.), in 1748. While he resided 
in Boston, he attended school, studied Latin among other 
things, and was partly fitted for college. 

He remained with iiia father till he was of age ; about 
which time he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 
Provincial troops ; and, in 1759, was under the command of 
Gen. Amherst at Ticonderoga. After a service of two cam- 
paigns, he returned home to his farm. 

The approach of the Revolution found Mr. Henshaw ready 
to go with the country, and prompt to engage in all the 



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236 HISTORY OF LEICESTEE. 

popular measures which engaged attention preparatory to 
the vindication of the rights of the Coioniea by resort to 
arms. He was one of the jurors who, at the April Term of 
the Superior Court at Worcester, refused to be sworn if Chief- 
Justice Oliver was to be present and act. The remonstraJice 
was drawn by him, and is a spirited and able paper. 

There were several county conventions held in Worcester 
between the 9th Aagust, 1774, and 21st April, 1775, in which 
he took a prominent and active part ; and it is said, that, at 
one of these, he was the first to propose the measure which 
was so readily adopted among the militia of the Province, — 
to form companies of "minute-men," so called, because they 
were to hold themselves ready to march upon a moment's 
warning if any demonstration should be made towards co- 
ercing the Colony by military force. He was made colonel 
of a regiment of minute-men raised in the county of Worces- 
ter. 

Upon hearing of the march of the British troops to Lexing- 
ton, he issued his orders to his field and subaltern officers 
and their companies to meet him at Worcester at ten 
o'clock that night. Before twelve, he, with his regimental 
officers, was on his way to Cambridge, which they reached 
the next forenoon. 

Upon the organization of the troops at Cambridge by an 
enlistment of men for eight months, Coi, Henshaw was ap- 
pointed adjutani^general, though he was not commissioned as 
such till the 27th June ; and held office until the arrival of 
G-en. Washington at Cambridge with Adjutant-Gen. Gates, 
under a commission from the Continental Congress. 

In May of that year, he was a member of the Council of 
War ; and, as chairman of a subcommittee of that body, made 
a reconnoissance, and reported upon the subject of occupying 
and fortifying Bunker Hill. 

This report was dated on the 12th May ; and it was by the 
advice of the Board of officers, of which he was a member, 



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HISTORY OP LEICESTER. 237 

that works were laid out which were to be occupied hj tho 
American troops; the attempt to do which led to the battle 
of the 17th June. 

After the arrival of Gen. Gates, Col. Henshaw, at his per- 
sonal solicitation, continued to act as his assistant for the 
term of five or six months, when he returned to Leicester.* 

In 1776, he was appointed a lieutenant-colonel, under Col. 
Little, of the twelfth Massachusetts regiment, ill the Conti- 
nental service ; and accepted the office at the personal desire 
of Gen. Washington. He joined the army at New York, in 
Gen. Green's brigade ; and was actively engaged in the ope- 
rations against the enemy, upon Long Island. In the severe 
and bloody encounter with the British troops at Flatbush, 
he was, with his regiment, surrounded by the enemy's forces ; 
and, after the surrender of Gen. Sullivan, cut his way through 
their ranks in a most gallant manner, and reached Brooklyn. 
The battle was a disastrous one; but gained, for those who 
took part in it, great credit for bravery and resolution. 

After retreating from Long Island, the army took up its 
position at last at White Plains ; where another battle was 
fought, in which Col. Henshaw took an active part. 

In November of 1776, he was oifered the post of colonel of 
a regiment, but declined it, though he continued in the ser- 
vice. He was attached to that part of the army which was 
under Gen. Lee, and marched into New Jersey. After the 
capture of that general, he was under the command of Gen. 
Sullivan ; and. '^i the absence of Col. Little, had command of 
the twelfth regiment. He was with Gen. Washington in the 
passage &f the Delaware, and at the attack on Princeton,— 
two of the important and memorable events of the Revolu- 
tion. 

lie continued with tlio army till February, 1777; when he 



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238 III8T0RT or LEICESTER. 

resigned, and returned homo. His zeal and activity in the 
cause of the Revolution did not cease with his retirement to 
civil life. He was an active patriot, and an enlightened, high- 
minded citizen ; and did much to keep alive the spirit which 
carried the country through that struggle and its subsequent 
difficulties. 

He was repeatedly chosen to represent the town in the 
General Court, and was for many years an active magistrate. 
He was of that class which^ unfortunately, is becoming a 
matter of histoiy, — a gentleman of the old school. There 
was a courtesy of manner, a dignity of bearing, and a self- 
possessed deportment, in their intercourse, which character- 
ized the officers of the higher grades in the army, which they 
acquired in their association with each other and by their 
habits of connnand, which they retained through life. 

Col. Henshaw had these to a remarkable degree. He re- 
tained the costume of his earlier regime, — his cocked hat, 
boots, and spurs. He rode a horse with much grace ; and 
moved, when he walked, with a firm step and an erect 
person. He was social in his feelings and habits, an agree- 
able talker, and a pleasant and interesting companion. He 
was a liberal supporter of the religious and educational insti- 
tutions of the town. He died February, 1820, at the age of 
eighty-five. He lived, for many years before his death, where 
Mr. Edwin Waite now lives, upon the farm which had belonged 
to his father. 

He married Ruth Sargent, daughter of Jonathan Sargent, 
in 1762, for his first wife ; and Phebe Swan, a sister of Reuben 
Swan, in 1771, for his second. The names of their children 
will be found in another part of this work. 

David Henshaw was the youngest son of Daniel, and 
brother of Joseph and William. He was born in Boston, 
1774 ; and removed with his father to Leicester at the age of 
four years. His school education was principally acquired in 
Boston. 



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HISTORY or LEICi:S'rER. 239 

In September, 1776, he was commissioned as captain in 
Col. Ci-afta's regiment of artillery in the Continental service. 
The regiment was principally employed in the vicinity of 
Boston ; but, more than once, parts of it were ordered to 
Rhode Island, and took part on one occasion, under Gen. 
Spencer, in an encounter with the enemy at Tiverton. He 
remained in the service three years, when he resigned, and 
retired to his farm. He was, many years, an active magistrate 
in the county. He had a strong and vigorous mind, a reso- 
lute will, and an independent judgment. 

He married Mary, daughter of Nathan Sargent, in 1773. 
Their children are mentioned in another part of this work. 
He died May 22, 1808, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. 
For several years before he died, he owned the farm known 
as the " Henshaw Farm," near the Pond ; which is still owned 
by descendants of the family. 

Joshua Henshaw was brother of Daniel, above named ; and 
was born in Boston in 1703. He was one of the leading 
spirits in the early movements of the Revolution ; and many 
of the measures of the day were discussed and planned at 
his bouse in Boston, where Warren and Hancock, Adams 
and Otis, used often to meet. He was elected to the Council 
in 1769 ; and his rejection by Gov, Bernard only added to the 
popular influence, and strengthened the confidence which he 
enjoyed,* About the year 1773, be removed to Leicester; 
where his son-in-law, Col. Joseph Henshaw, who had married 
his daughter Sarah, was then residing. 

He boarded for a while in the family of the Bev. Mr, 
Conldin, in whom he found a congenial spirit. After that, he 
was occupying the Mount-Pleasant House with his son-in-law 
in 1776. The following year (1777) he was residing in Red- 



' The pei-sons elected to tha Conijoil with him, who were rejected by Gov. Bernard, 
were WilliBm Brattle, Jaraes Bowdoin, Joseph Gerrish, Thomas Sanndets, John Han- 
oocl!, Artemas Ward, Jamas Otis, Beojamin Qreenleaf, Jonathan Bowers, and Nathn- 



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240 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

ham, in the faraily of the lion. Samuel Dexter; whore he 
died Aug. 5, 1777. 

I have had occaaioH to remark moi-e than once upon the 
constant and intimate connection which was kept up between 
the people of Leicester and the leaders of the Revolutionary 
movements in Boston, by which the sentiment of the latter 
found a ready and immediate response from the former. 

Mr. Joshua Henshaw was one of the mediums through 
which this was effected. He was, as I have stated, a confi- 
dential friend and adviser of the Adamses, Otis, "Warren, and 
the other leaders in the popular cause. He was, for instance, 
a member of the committee, with Samuel Adams and James 
Otis, who demanded of the governor the removal of the troops 
from Boston after the Boston Massacre, as it was called. 

He had two nephews and a son-in-law in Leicester, all 
pubhc and active men ; and his letters, had they been pre- 
served, would doubtless have given us in detail the steps by 
which the Revolution was commenced, and carried on up to 
his removal from the scene of action. His health, for a few 
years before his death, was feeble ; and he had witlidrawn 
from an active participation in public affairs. 

John Southgatb, though he occupied a much more limited 
sphere than some of those I have mentioned, deserves to be 
noticed among the prominent citizens of the town. He was 
the oldest son of Steward Southgate, who was born in Eng- 
land, and came to Leicester with his father Richard in 1717. 
He was born Jan. 15, 1738, and was the brother of Dr. 
Robert Southgate, of Scarborough in Maine. He was weU 
educated for the time in which he lived, and was much em- 
ployed as a surveyor of lands, in which he seems to have 
had great skill and accuracy. He married Eleanor Sargent, 
daughter of Jonathan Sargent, 2d. Their children are men- 
tioned hereafter. He was the adjutant of the regiment of 
minute-men commanded by Col. William Henshaw, and 
marched to Cambridge on the alarm of the 19th of April, 



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HISTORY OK LEICrSTER. 241 

1775. Upon tho organization of the troops in the " eight 
months'" service, he returned to Leicester. 

In September, 1776, a regiment of artillery waa raised 
under the command of Ool. Thomas Crafts, of which James 
Swan, afterwards a resident in Leicester, was major. One of 
the companies (the tenth) was commanded by Capt. "William 
Todd of Leicester, who then lived at the Heiishaw Place ; 
and another, by David Henahaw, already mentioned. 

John Sonthgate was commissioned as second officer in the 
company of Capt. Todd, under the title and atyle of" captain- 
lieutenant." They were immediate neighbors, and strong 
personal friends. 

This regiment was regarded as an important arm of the 
service, and is often alluded to in the proceedings of the Gene- 
ral Court of Massachusetts, by whom its officers were com- 
missioned, although in the Continental establishment. The 
company to which Capt. Todd and Southgate were attached 
was stationed a part of the time at Boston ; a part at Dor- 
chester Point and (Governor's Island ; and, in the autumn of 
1777, was ordered to Rhode Island; as it waa again in Sep- 
tember, 1778 : both of which expeditions took place during 
the temporary abaence of Capt. Southgate on visits to hia 
family. 

From several letters ^^ left among the papers of Capt. South- 
gate 1 select a few extracts, as they serve to give an insight 
into the condition of the army at the times when they were 
written. In one from Capt. Todd, dated Nov. 22, 1776, writ- 
ten at Boston, he tells Capt. Southgate that he had seen the 
regiment ; that they looked well ; and desires Mr. Southgate to 
inform the men he should bring with him, that they would be 
noticed, and, if not in uniform, probably rejected. " All the 
old companies arc clothed, and moat of Capt. Cushing's and 



is graiiilsoil, Dr. Georga F. BigelO' 



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242 HISTOKY OF LEICESTER. 

Henshaw's.* I should be sorry to see my men appear any 
worse than the beat of them." 

Soon after this, he writes again : " I would request you'd 
do all in your power to promote the design of regimental 
clothing ; would hint to you, the officers look well ; would not 
have you get a homespun coai, if you can hdp it. No man will 
have an opportunity of being gunner or bombadier in the 
company, without a uniform ; as regimental orders are, they 
shall appear in regimental dress. Let all the men bring down 
with them whatever arms or accoutrements they can procure, 
— quite scarce here. Desire tlicra to do what they can in 
getting them. . . . The 2d of December we have a regi- 
mental muster, — a grand appearance." 

On the 25th of the same November, 1776, he writes from 
" Camp Boston : " " Sir, you must inform Mr. Richardson, he 
must either get a tye wig, or else let his hair grow." — " Am 
well now. My men all arrived ; all well. Have received good 
provisions, and will pass muster to-morrow." 

Perhaps some allowance should be made for this festidious- 
ness about dress and outside appearance to the fact that Capt. 
Todd had been an English gentleman before coming to this 
country, and, of course, familiar with the dress and appear- 
ance of neatness in the uniform of the English Army at home. 
He had removed from Boston to Leicester, and purchased 
and lived upon the farm formerly belonging to Judge Steele, 
and subsequently to David Henshaw, Esq. His sister Rachel 
married William Sargent, brother of Capt, Southgate's wife ; 
which formed an additional bond of intimacy between the 
families. 

After the war, Capt. Todd removed to Keene, N.H. ; and 
was living there in 1793. 

But to resume the notice of Capt. Southgate. I give an 
extract from a letter of his to his wife, dated in April, 1777, 

* Capt. David HensliBW of Leioester. 



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HISTORY 01" LEICESTER. 243 

which he sent " by Rev. Mr. Conklin," who, I suppose, was 
then a chaplain in the army, I give it in order to show to 
what straits people, in even comfortable circumstances, were 
I'educed for the common articles of necessity in theirfemilies. 
" I sent you a paper of pins by Capt. Newhall." — " I can't get 
any calamanco for shoes, nor any shoes I think will fit you, 
yet." 

All these letters were by private hands; for, as it wiii be 
recollected, it was long anterior to the estabhahment of a 
regular postal arrangement for general use. 

Capt. Southgate left the army in the summer or autumn of 
1778, but still continued active in promoting the success 
of the Revolution, 

In 1781, he was first assessor of the town, and had the duty 
of dividing the people of the town into classes ; each of 
which was required to furnish one or more men for the army, 
according as the requisition might be upon the town. In 
the class to which he himself belonged, there were thirty- 
one whose names were borne upon the tax-lists of the town. 

The prostration of business and credit, and the exhaustion 
of the pecuniary resources of the country, consequent upon 
the war, ripened at last into that unhappy feeling of hostility 
to the government in Massachusetts, which led to open resist- 
ance in what was called Shay's Rebellion, in 1786-7. 

The sober and reflecting portion of the people stood by the 
government ; but many, who had been good and devoted 
soldiers during the Revolution, were found enlisted under the 
banner of revolt,* 

The aim of the insurgents was to put a stop to the courts, 
in order to prevent the collection of debts by legal process 
and the punishment of those who should resist the law, 

I hardly need say that Capt. Southgate was found in sup- 



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244 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

port of the government ; and one or two extracts from letters 
addressed to Siim at that time will give some idea of the 
feeling that then existed. One is dated Sept. 5, 1186, and is 
from a kinsman living in Palmer. " Your aunt and I were 
summoned as evidences to Northampton court last week. 
On Tuesday morning, there were a company of horse of about 
fifty or sixty ; and followed them a company of foot, armed 
with guns and bayonets in regular order, drums, fifes, &c. ; 
besides smaller bodies continually marching through the 
street and crossing the river. It being a very rainy forenoon, 
did not think best to go over ; being very unwell, and expect- 
ing a tumult, and perhaps much confusion. All the afternoon, 
for six or eight hours, could not see man, woman, or child, in 
Hadley Street. Next day, I went over to Northampton ; but 
the mob had stopped the court, so that they never attempted 
to go into the Court House, but adjourned without day. The 
mob were all retired to their homes ; and such people as I had 
opportunity to see said but very little, but seemed concerned 
at the consec[uences." 

The other, of a different character, is from Col, William 
Henshaw, and is characteristic of the times and the man. It 
bears date Sept. 19, 1786. " I shall go by the way of Major 
Newhall's* t« Worcester, and see what number we can raise 
that may protect the court from insults, if any should be 
offered. I was at Worcester yesterday ; and it was the 
opinion of some that a party would try to stop the court. 
Others were of opinion they would not. It is best to guard 
against the worst. If you are with me in opinion, it will be 
best to invite such persons as you think are friendly to 
government to appear at Worcester with their arms as early 
as may be in the day, to rendezvous at Patch Tavern. Capt. 
Henshaw,t Mr. Stone,t Capt. Lyon and sons. Col. Washburn 



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HISTORY OP LEICESTER. 245 

and sons, Mr. Denny * and Swan,-|- I believe, will go, Worces- 
ter will stand ready to join iis. Perhaps you will find others 
ready to go in so good a cause." — Col. Henshaw waa not 
mistaken in his supposition ; but tlie history of that affair be- 
longs to another part of this work. 

Capt, Southgate engaged extensively in purchasing wild 
lands in Maine. He owned a pretty large tract a few miles 
above Bangor, on the Penobscot Hiver. After the death of 
his oldest son, which is mentioned in another part of this 
work, he had occasion to visit these lands from time to time, 
to dispose of them, and protect them from trespassers. 

On the 7th of August, 1806, having occasion to be at Still- 
water for this purpose, and wishing to pass a short distance 
down the river, he got upon a couple of logs in the stream, 
in company with a man by the name of Eeed, and was soon 
after thrown into the water in some way; and was drowned, 
though an excellent swimmer, within a few rods of the shore. 
Strong suspicions of foul play were entertained at the time ; 
but no measures, I believe, were ever taken to investigate their 
truth. Hia body was soon recovered, and buried at Kendus- 
keag Point, on the banks of the Penobscot, 

Capt. Southgate lived in the easterly part of the town, near 
the junction of the County Road from Charlton with the old 
Great Road, where it pasaed along the side hill, instead of its 
present course through the valley. One only of the family 



Thomas Denny was the son of Daniel, the first of the name 
who settled in Leicester, He was born in 1724. He married 
Tabitha Cutler of Gfraflon in 1752, and had four children. He 
must have been a man of more than ordinary ability, and of an 
education superior to most of his contemporaries, who were 
brought up, as he was, in a country town. 

He held many places of responsibility and trust in the town 

" Thomas. f Eaubeii. 



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246 HISTOKY OF LEICESTElt. 

and county, and early engaged in the controversy with the 
mother- country. Some of the epirited and statesman-like 
resolutions and instructions adopted by the town, to which I 
have alluded, were from his pen. He was, too; in correspond- 
ence with the leading public men in Boston and its vicinity, 
and waa regarded by them as a wise and patriotic counsellor. 

For five years in succession, next previous to his death, he 
represented the town in the General Court ; and was a mem- 
of the first Provincial Congress in 1774. This covered a 
most eventful and trying period of our history. During the 
early part of 1774, there were several meetings of delegations 
from the towns in the county of Worcester, in convention, in 
which Col. Denny took a leading part, and was one of a com- 
mittee of three selected by the convention to present to Gov. 
Gage a remonstrance against the course of measures which 
the government were pursuing. The delegates from this 
town to this convention were Col. Thomas Denny, Capt. Wil- 
liam Henshaw, Capt. Joseph Henahaw, and Eev. Benjamin 
Conklin. Spencer and Paxton united in their election. Of 
these, William Henshaw was chosen clerk of the convention. 

The congress met in October, 1774. Soon after its con- 
vening, Col. Denny was obliged to return home on account of 
sickness; which terminated his life, Oct. 23, at the age of 
forty-nine. 

He seems to have been a ready and popular debater as 
well as writer ; and his death was a public loss, and lamented 
as such. He had held the office of colonel of a regiment 
of militia, which was then regarded as a mark of distin- 
guished honor. From his qualifications for public life, and 
his experience and familiar acquaintance with the affairs of 
the Province, there is every reason to believe, that, had he 
Hved, he would have filled an important part in that drama of 
which he saw only the opening scene. Col. Denny lived upon 
what was long known as the " Old Denny Farm," where his 
iather had first settled. 



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rdb, Google 







.^/y^9^^ 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 247 

Col. Thomas Denny, a son of the above, was bom in May, 
1757. He married Lueretia Sargent, daughter of Phinehaa 
Sargent. He early engaged in active business, and accumu- 
lated a large estate. He often represented the town in the 
General Court ; was many years postmaster of the town, 
having succeeded Mr. Adams in that office ; was a member 
of the Board of Trustees of the Academy ; an active magis- 
trate; colonel of a regiment of cavalry,* — the first raised in 
the county; besides being called to fill many places of trust 
in the town and elsewhere. 

He was extensively engaged in the manufacture of cards 
and in merchandise, and did much towards sustaining and 
fostering a branch of manufacture upon which the wealth 
and business of the town have greatly depended. 

Ool. Denny, with some of his contemporaries, did much 
by their enterprise, and the encouragement and employment 
they afforded to active and industrious young men, in laying 
a foundation for the prosperity of the town ; for which the 
town owes a debt of gratitude to their memory. 

He died suddenly, in the midst of his usefulness, Dec. 5, 
1S14, aged fifty-seven. Hia wife survived him until her 
ninetieth birthday ; retaining her faculties and her cheerful- 
ness unimpaired to the last, and enjoying the respect and 
esteem of a wide circle of friends and acquaintance. Her 
death was very sudden, and with her passed away almost 
the last link between the present generation and the ante- 
revolutionary age. 

Many valuable memories, that might have lent an interest 
to these pages had they been preserved, have died with 
her ; and her rich store of personal recollections of individuals 
and events is now lost beyond recovery. 

Col. Denny lived, after hia marriage, on the Denny Farm ; 
but, though he continued to own the estate, he lived, many 

• He succeeiled Col. Crafts of Sturbridge, and ivas chosen March 1781 



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248 HISTORY OF LKICESTER. 

years before his death, in the house opposite the Academy, 
recently altered and repaired by Dr. Daggett.* 

Col. Samoel Denny was a brother of the first Gol. Thomas ; 
and, though not so distinguished as a public man, held a 
prominent and leading place among the men of bis day. He 
was bom in 1731. He married Ehzabeth, daughter of Daniel 
Henshaw, Esq. ; and had a large family of children, who are 
mentioned elsewhere. He was engaged with the Henshaws 
and others in the early movements of the Revolution, and 
was lieutenant-colonel of the regiment of minute-men which 
marched upon the Lexington alarm. 

In February, 1776, he was elected colonel of the first regi- 
ment in the county of Worcester ; and, in November of that 
year, was stationed with the army at Tarry Town. In Septem- 
ber, 1777, he was detailed to command a regiment of militia 
that was ordered to join the Northern Army. The term of 
his service at the last time was hut a single month. He re- 
presented the town in the General Court in 1778 ; and was a 
member of the Convention which was called to act upon the 
ratification of the Constitution of the United States, in Janu- 
ary, 1788. Col. Denny lived upon his estate upon Moose 
Hill, in the north-west part of the town. Ho died in 1817, at 
the age of eighty-six. 

Col. Seth Washburh. — No one, who has followed the 
course of the narrative of this work, will doubt the propriety 
of noticing this gentleman among the leading men of the town 
in his day ; and yet the relation in which I stand to his 
memory is 8uch as to hazard the character of any judgment 
I may have formed of his public measures or personal 
merits. I can at best give but a meagre detail of even the 
few incidents which go to make up his history. 

He was born in Bridgewater in 1723. His grandfather 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 2^9 

came to Duxbury in 1635 ; and was, aa is believed, the son of 
the first secretary of the Massachiiaetta Company, before its 
charter was removed to New England. He afterwards re- 
moved to Bridgewater; where his son Joseph * father of Seth, 
was born. He removed to Middletown, Conn., in 1739 or 1740; 
and lived there till about 1745, when he removed to Leicester 
with his family. Seth was then twenty-seven years old. The 
father was a blacksmith, and lived where there is now a cellar, 
on the west side of the road leading to William Silvester's, 
some fifty rods from the Great Eoad. His shop was at the 
junction of the Silvester Road with the Great Koad. Seth also 
was a blacksmith, and served his apprenticeship in Middle- 
town. In April, 1750, he married Mary, the daughter of 
Capt. Nathaniel Harrod, who had removed with her father 
from Lunenburg, where she was born. He is spoken of, in 
a deed dated 1756, as innkeeper; and is supposed to have 
kept the public-house where Capt. Knight now lives, which 
was afterwards burned in 1767. He afterwards lived in 
the house which belonged to him, standing where Mr. John 
Loring lives, and forming a part of it, but enlarged by him in 
1780. After his second marriage, to Mrs. Sarah Sargent, a 
sister of Col. Samuel Denny, in April, 1788, he lived fom- 
years upon what is now called the Slade Place,— the farm 
afterwards owned by John Howard, two miles north of the 
Meeting-house. He then returned to his former residence, 
where he died. 

Col. Washburn is chiefly interesting, as a study, from his 
being a iair representative man of his time. His qualities 
had never been developed by early education, and lay dor- 



* Joseph's mother was f^nd-iiangliter of Mary Chiltonj the first whits person, it 
issRid wh tepi J p n th Pljm th Ko li Sh married J 1 n b th of Gov. 



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250 HISTORY or LJ';iC>;ST.KR. 

maiit until drawn out by the emergency of the occaaion. 
His education muat have been very limited. He wrote an 
indifferent hand, and often violated the rules of spelling and 
grammar. He had, however, a ready command of language ; 
was a iiuent and forcible speaker; and exhibited a coolness 
and self-posse sa ion, which made him an effective debater. 
But probably he would have gone through life, as thousands 
are constantly doing, without knowing that he had courage, 
firmness, sagacity, or executive talent, beyond what was 
necessary to manage his shop and command the respect of 
his neighbors, if it had not been for the call upon his best 
energies which he found in the Revolution. 

He had been a soldier in one expedition against the Indians 
in New Hampshire in 1749. He held various subordinate 
town-offices, from time to time, after 1758 ; but had not at- 
tained to the dignity of a selectman before 1769; and it was 
1773 before he was placed at the head of the Board, He 
was first chosen representative in 1777, and a senator in 
1780. The first of his military offices, in which he after- 
wards acquired much credit and importance, was in 1770, 
when he was chosen lieutenant of a company of volunteers, 
of which William Henshaw was captain. In April, 1774, he 
was commissioned as lieutenant of the second company of foot 
in Leicester, of which Samuel Denny was captain. When the 
company of minute-men was raised in January, 1775, he was 
made their captain : and in the eighth months' service, after 
the war began, he was the captain of a company ; as he 
was in the two successive terms, of two months' service, at 
Eoxbury and Dorchester, which succeeded. In one of these, 
as senior captain in the regiment commanded by Col. Whit- 
ney, he did the duty of major. Prom that time till the close 
of the war, he was constantly in the public service, though 
not attached to the army. Of the part he took in the battle of 
the 17th June, 1775, 1 have elsewhere spoken. 

The military commissions he afterwards received were in 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 251 

the militia. In rebriiary, 1778, he was chosen by the General 
Coart and commissioned as major of the first regiment in 
Worcester; and in July, 1781, became its colonel. It then 
embraced Spencer, Paxton, Ward (Auburn), Worcester, Hol- 
den, and Leieeater ; and contained nine companies, of six 
hundred and eighteen men in the whole. How long he held 
the office, I am not able to state ; but he had the command at 
its first regimental muster, which took place in September, 
1785. Though his rise into public notice and confidence must 
have been sudden and rapid, I find no evidence of bis having 
afterwards lost or forfeited that confidence. The duties he 
was called upon to perform, after leaving the army, were, 
moat of them, such as indicated a reHance upon his judgment 
and sagacity as well as his fidelity. 

I have mentioned, in a subsequent part of this work, his 
having been muster-master for the county, and superintend- 
ent for military purposes of the county, by repeated elections, 
as well as storekeeper of portions of the supplies for the 
army. 

In June, 1776, an order of the General Court was adopted 
for raising five thousand men to co-operate with the Continental 
troops ; and a committee of one for each county was chosen to 
go into the several counties to promote the enlistments. Mr, 
Washburn was chosen for the county of Worcester. The 
same service was done in July, the same year, to enlist every 
twenty-fifth man to re-enforce the Northern Army. 

In May, 1777, he was appointed by the General Court to 
proceed to Ticonderoga to learn on the spot the exact con- 
dition of the garrison, and to see that the supplies destined 
for it were forwarded with despatch ; but he was unable to 
comply with the order, and another was appointed in his 
place. Massachusetts was to raise fifteen battalions of troops 
for the Continental service, but was to have the commission- 
ing of their oiEcers, 

In June, 1777, a committee, consisting of Azor Orne, 



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252 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

George Partridge, Jonathan "Webster, Seth Washburn, and 
Joseph Hosmer, was raised by the General Court " for com- 
missionating the ofEcers now raishig men," &c., in this State.* 

Certainly this was a delegation of great power and discre- 
tion. Bnt that which was conferred the same month upon 
another committee, of which Mr. Washburn was a member, 
was hardly less. It was to examine accounts against the 
government for services done or articles supplied, and pass 
upon the accounts of commissaries for men raised for defence 
of the seacoast. And in August, 1779, he was on a similar 
committee ; and whatever accounts were approved by the 
committee were to be allowed and paid, without any further 
order or action upon them. 

In these and similar duties his time was occupied until 
peace was established. In 1776, "J, '8, and '9, he represented 
the town in the General Court, and was elected in 1780, '82, 
and '84; but, having been elected to the Senate in 1780 and 
'84, his seat in the House was vacated for those years. 

In 1777, he was one of a committee of seventeen chosen 
by the Legislature to draught a Constitution for the people ; 
and, in 1779, was chosen a delegate to the Convention that 
framed the Constitution which was adopted by the people. 
In that Convention he was the senior monitor of the body, 
served upon some of its most important committees, and took 
an active part in the discussions which arose during its 
sessions. 

He was elected a member of the first Senate under the 
Constitution, and was re-elected in the years 1783, '84, '85, 
'86, and '87. In 1788, he was again a member of the House. 

In March, 1781, he was commissioned as a justice of the 
peace ; an office which everybody did not hold at that day, 
as will appear from the very few who were commissioned in 

•■ In the Eevolntionary records at Boston is an account of tlia nnmbar of commiB- 
sions delivBred to each of this committee, of " the niBii to go to Caniidfi." Eight were 
ooiifided to " Capt Setli Waahburn." 



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HISTORY or LEiCEbTER. 



253 



the town as such before 1800. They did not exceed ha]f a 
dozen in seventy-five years. 

He lias always been described to me by bis contemporaries 
as having a light complexion, high forehead, and blue eyes ; 
about five feet ten inches in height; thin, active, and muscular. 
This was shown by his bringing off Sergeant Brown in his 
ai-ms from Bunker Hill, and his seizing and disarming the sen- 
tinel at the door of Mr. Allen during the Shays insurrection. 
He was represented as being a man of agreeable, winning 
manners and address ; a fluent and effective speaker ; of 
fearless courage and great firmness ; as exerting a marked 
influence in his own town, and commanding the confidence 
and respect of the public bodies of men with whom he was at 
various times connected. 

His wife * was, I apprehend, what would now be called a 
strong-minded woman, shrinking from no duty or sacrifice 
to which the emergencies of the times called upon the women 
of that day to submit. They reared a large family of children, 
whose descendants may be found in various parts of the 
Union ; but not one remains in the town or county where he 
had lived. He had around him at Cambridge, and engaged 
with him in the battle of the ITtb June, a brother, two sons, 
and one soon to be a son-in-law. 

He died of dropsy, Feb. 12, 1T94, at the age of seventy-one, 
in the full possession of his intellectual powers, and in the 
consciousness of a life filled up with honest industry and 
honorable usefulness. In the notice of his death, in the 
papers of the day, we read, " Of whom it may be truly said, 
that he was an honest man, a true patriot, a kind husband, an 
indulgent parent, an obliging neighbor, and a friend to man- 
kind." 

Though for many years employed in places of trust, involv- 
ing, at times, the disbursement of considerable sums of money, 

" She ilio(l in Septembei-, IT87. 



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254 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

he left but little for his heirs beyond the inheritance of a good 
name. Among the so-called property he gave up, was that of 
a slave by the name of Titus, who had become his by some 
means other than a direct purchase. When his attention was 
caUed to the question of holding slaves, by the discussions as 
to the rights of the Colonies, he at once emancipated Titus ; 
who, on the other. hand, declined to leave the employment 
of his former master, and continued in the family till his 
death. Ool. Washburn married Mrs. Sarah Sargent, widow 
of Thomas Sargent, and daughter of Daniel Denny,the first of 
the name, in 1788. She survived him. 

I have mentioned his sons. One of them (Joseph) was bom 
May 18, 1755. At the age of seventeen, his father bound him 
as an apprentice to a housewright ; where he remained till the 
war commenced, when, just before he was twenty years of 
age, he enlisted into the company commanded by his father. 

After leaving the service in April, 1776, I do not find that 
he engaged in it again till the let of January, 1777 ; when he 
was commissioned as ensign of a company commanded by 
Gapt. Adam Martin, in Col. Bigelow's fifteenth Massachusetts 
regiment, in the Continental service. On the 2d March, 
1779, he was promoted to a lieutenancy in the same company ; 
which office he resigned, and was honorably discharged 13th 
April, 1780. 

This regiment was chiefly composed of men from Worcester 
County ; and we have the testimony of a careful historian,* 
that " a braver band never took the field or mustered to 
battle." It saw a great deal of service which required much 
physical endurance, as well as a good share of heroic courage. 
Its first destination was to join the Northern Army under 
Gen. Gates. After the capture of Burgoyne, in which the 
regiment took a part, it marched into New Jersey. 

Without attempting to trace its movements together or in 

• Mv, Lincoln, in Ilia lIi»tofy of Worcester. 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 255 

detail, I may refer to one or two incidents in which it tooli a 
part. It went into winter quarters with the American Army 
at Yaliey Forge, the winter of 1777-8, and shared in the 
frightful want and destitution which made that so memorable 
a scene ever after, when the sufferings and endurance of the 
army in the war of the Itevolution were spoken of. Worn 
down with hard service, without proper food or shelter, with- 
out blankets or clothing, during a winter of unusual severity, 
when the men might be tracked in the snow by the blood 
from their naked feet, the condition of an officer was hardly 
less tolerable than the humblest soldier in the camp. A letter 
from the subject of this notice, addressed to his father (then 
a member of the Legislature), giving a detailed account of the 
condition and destitution of the army, was read by the latter 
before the House, and is said to have aroused the attention 
of that body to provide, in some measure, for the immediate 
relief of the suffering troops. 

The following season, the company to which Mr. Washburn 
belonged was in New Jersey, under Gen. Washington, and 
took an early and active part in the battle of iiionmoiith, 
memorable alike for the desperate courage with which the 
Americans fought after the disasters of the early part of the 
engagement, and for the dreadful suffering of the troops 
from heat, fatigue, and exhaustion ; where, it is said, as many 
met their death by imprudently quenching their intolerar 
ble thirst at the wells and streams, to which they rushed 
when the action was over, as from the shot of the enemy. 

The only attempt I shall make to describe the battle will 
be while speaking of the experience of one of his company 
(Solomon Parsons), who was dreadfully wounded on the occa- 
sion. Being a neighbor and personal acquaintance of Mr. 
Washburn, he discovered and removed him, from where he 
had been lying many hours under a burning sun, to a place 
where his wounds could be dressed ; and did every thing in 
his power to alleviate his sufferings. 



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256 HISTORY Of LEICESTER. 

1 am uuiible to give in detail tlie points and places in 
which the company was engaged while Mr. Washburn re- 
mained in the service. After his return from the army, he 
worked a while at his trade, and built the house where Mr. 
Knowles lives, at the corner of the Great Road and the road 
to Charlton, which he afterwards sold to the Rev. Mr. Moore. 
In 1187, he married Ruth, daughter of Ebenezer Davis, Esq., 
of Charlton ; and occupied the farm on the west side of the 
Charlton Road, at the foot of the Livermore Hill. He sold 
that farm, and purchased the one on which he lived, till his 
death, March, 1807. A part of it now belongs to Mrs. New- 
hall, half a mile from the Meeting-house, upon the west side 
of the Rutland Road, 

As early as the summer of 1789, he was appointed a deputy- 
sheriff of the county; and held the place, through all the 
changes in the office of sheriif, until his death.* He shared 
liberally in the favor and confidence of his townsmen, so far 
as that might be evinced by the various offices, and places of 
trust, which he held. He died in the vigor of life, and in the 
midst of active usefulness. He left seven children. His widow 
died March 22, 1827, at the age of sisty-one. It would be, 
indeed, a poor privilege to have been permitted to write 
these pages, if delicacy thereby forbade my bearing a hum- 
ble tribute of respect to parents, one of whom I have spoken 
of chiefly from information derived from others; and of the 
other, —■ her life of humble piety, her wise counsels, her untir- 
ing devotion as a mother, and her beautiful exhibition of 
womanly virtues, which I so long witnessed, will, 1 trust, 
justify me in inscribing this simple record of affection aud 
respect to her memory. 

The other son of OoL Washburn (Asa Washburn) early 
removed to Putney, Vt. ; where he sustained, through a long 

' There hnd been two incumbents of the office In Leicester before Mr. Wssiibn™. 
Capt. Ephmim Mower waa the first ; he remored to WoroeKter. Timothy Sprflgua 
succeeded him. The office was vacant dui'ing 178S and a part of IT89. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 257 

life, a high rank and reputation as a magistrate, and a man 
of worth and inteUigence. 

I have had occasion to speak of Mr. Solomok Paesoks in 
his connection with the period of his service in the EevoJu- 
tionary Army. 

He was born in 1757, a son of Dr. Solomon Parsons, and 
grandson of the Eev. David Parsons. I find, by memoranda 
wliich he left, that he entered the army in 1775, and went 
through two campaigns before 1777, the particulars of which 
I am unable to ascertain. In March, 1777, then twenty years 
of age, he enlisted in the Continental service during the war, 
in Capt. Martin's company, in Col. Bigelow's fifteenth Massa- 
chusetts regiment ; and was in the various battJes, marchings, 
and hard service, to which that distinguished regiment was 
subjected. It was chiefly, however, to speak of the suffer- 
ings he endured in the battle of Monmouth, that I began this 
notice. 

That battle was fought on Sunday, the 28th June, 1778, 
between the main Enghsh Army, on their march through 
New Jersey, after having evacuated Philadelphia, under Gen. 
Clinton, and the main American Army, under the immediate 
command of Gen. "Washington, having with him Generals 
Lee, Lafayette, Green, and Wayne, and other distinguished 
oflScers. 

It is not my purpose to attempt to describe the battle, any 
farther than it may be necessary to understand the extract I 
give below, from Mr. Parsons's written account of his own 
participation in it. His account, by the way, is another of the 
many illustrations we have of how little one who is engaged 
aa a soldier or subordinate officer knows of the actual move- 
ments of an army, as a whole, in a battle. 

The enemy were moving across New Jersey towards the 
Raritan Bay. Washington's army was a few miles to their 
left and in their rear. He was inclined to bring them to an 
engagement, but was not sustained in this by a majority of 



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258 HISTORY OK LEICESTER. 

his ofEcers in eoTincil. He, however, pressed upon their line 
of march; and, for that purpose, sent forward Gen. Maxwell's 
brigade with the New-Jersey mihtia, and Col, Morgan with 
a select corps, to interrxipt and impede their progress. On 
the 24th June, he ordered forward another detachment, under 
Brig.-G-en. Scott, to aid in annoying the enemy, while he 
moved on with the main army to Kingstown, — a point near 
to the enemy, who were moving very slowly through the 
country at that time, in the direction of Monmouth Court 
House. The line of march of Clinton's army, aa appears on 
the map, was nearly east ; that of the American, more south- 
easterly, and, of course, approaching the left flank of the 
enemy. 

On the 26th, he sent forward a select corps of one thousand 
men under Erig,-Gen. Wayne, with Gen. Lafayette to command 
the whole advanced corps, with orders to take the first oppor- 
tunity to attack the enemy's rear. Martin's company were a 
part of these troops. These advanced corps, that night, took 
position on the Monmouth Eoad, about five miles from the 
enemy's rear ; but, as that brought our troops too far to the 
right of the main army, it was ordered to file to the left, to a 
point between the enemy and the American main army. This 
was on the 27th, The main body then marched up to within 
three miles of Gen. Lafayette's advanced corps. Morgan's 
troops were on the right flank of the enemy ; and Gen. Dick- 
enson, with the Jersey militia, on their left. The enemy were 
about a mile and a half beyond the Court House, where 
they halted till the morning of tiie 28th. On the evening of 
the 27th, the command of the whole advanced corps having 
been given to Gen. Lee, he encamped at English-town, about 
five miles to tiie left, and in rear of the English Army, The 
main body of the American Army was about three miles in 
his rear. 

Gen. Washing-ton resolved to commence an attack upon 
their rear the next morning, as soon aa the enemy should 



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HISTORY OF LKtCESTER. 259 

move from their ground ; and gave his orders to Lee accord- 
ingly. These orders were repeated in the morning, and the 
main aiiny moved forward to support him. 

Lee advanced with Wayne's and Maxwell's brigades ; and, as 
he came up with the enemy, he sent forward "Wayne to engage 
their rear, while he proposed to attack their leading columns. 
The enemy had, at this time, a wood upon either flank ; and 
were otherwise favorably situated for making a stand. 

The battle was begun, and Washington was pressing for- 
ward with the main body of the army to sustain the attacking 
forces ; when, to his amazement, he met Lee in full retreat. 
With gi-eat effort, he succeeded in arresting this retreat of the 
Americans, and in bringing them to a stand, until the main 
army could come up to their support. Wayne was in advance 
of the American forces, and was opposed to the centre of the 
English Army, where he maintained himself for some time. 
Col. Stewart's, and the other corps of American artillery, 
were also very effective in keeping the enemy in check till 
the main army could be brought into the action. 

After a severely contested battle, the enemy, towards night, 
retreated back on to the ground where Lee first encountered 
them in the morning; and, in this position, the Americana 
lay on their arms during the night, intending to renew the 
fight in the morning. During the night, the enemy silently 
withdrew, and abandoned the field. 

This was the battle of Monmouth, rendered memorable in 
the annals of the war by the gallantry of our troops, after the 
disastrous retreat of Lee in the morning, the dreadful suffer- 
ings which they endured from long and heavy marches, heat, 
thirst, and the desperate resistance of the enemy, and by the 
confidence with which it inspired the country. Every point, 
from the first advance of the enemy in the morning till their 
retreat in the afternoon, was sharply contested, notwithstand- 
ing the disgraceful retreat of that part of the advance which 
was with Gen. Lee. 



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260 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

Capt, Martin's company, to which Mr. Parsons belongod, as 
I gather from his narrative, formed a part of Gen. Wayne's 
command ; having been of the detachment sent forward on 
the 26th, as above stated, under his and Gen. Lafayette's 
command. 

It was, I infer, after Lee's retreat, when Wayno was obliged 
to give way, and after an order from Gen. "Washington for the 
brigade to maintain its position, and when, for a second time, 
the front ranks of Wayne's command fell back npon Stewart's 
artillery and the other American troops as they came up, that 
Mr. Parsons was wounded. He must have fallen near the 
British lines as they were advancing; and the army passed 
over him, both in its advance and retreat, as well as the 
American Army in its advance upon the retreating forces of 
the enemy. 

In his narrative, which I purposely somewhat abridge, 
though I retain his language in whatever I have copied, he 
mentions the movements of the detachment of the thou- 
sand men to which be belonged, on the 26th and 27th, and 
the part they took in the skirmishing in the morning of the 
28th, and the retreat of his regiment with that of Cob Stew- 
art's artillery, and their meeting an officer ordering them to 
halt. He then describes their return into the action, en- 
countering the head of the enemy's colunm, and their being 
fired upon by their artillery, 

" The regiment were ordered to incline to the Icil, to let our artillery 
in. '1 liey commenced to Are most vehemently. Wo hiid orders to 
march forwai'd to a growth of wood a little to our left, where we soon 
met the enemy. The smoke gave ivay. I heheld the red-coats within 
eight rods. I was loaded with a ball and six huck-shot. I took aim 
about waistband-high. I loaded the second time, and mflde attempt to 
fire ; but my gun did not go. I jumped into the rear, where I saw 
Major Porter. I told him my gun would not go off. He said, ' Take 
care of yourself; the enemy are just upon us ! ' I stepped into the (ront 
rank, and discharged my piece, the enemy within six rods. I loaded 
the third time. As I returned my ramrod, I found our men four rods 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 261 

distant, and the enemy the same. I wheeled to the left, and observed 
that the enemy had flanked our men which were out of the woods. I 
then i-an out of the woods. I got ten rods, and the enemy came out of 
them, aod fired a platoon upon me. One ball struck my heel, which 
much disabled me. The nest platoon on the left fired on me, and 
broke my thigh. I then raised myself upon my right arm, and looked 
toward the enemy, and saw a man coming towards me. He came upon 
the run within a, rod of me. I be^ed for quarter. He came within 
four feet of me. I begged for quarter. He says, ' You damned rebel, I 
have none for you ! " He drew back, and stabbed me through the ana. 
I twitched back my ai-m and seized the bayonet, one hand by the hilt 
and one hand by the point, and twitched it to the ground. Then he went 
to twitching it, and twitched it five or sis times. He twitched me off 
the ground, and tried to stab me with the bayonet a number of times. 
I defended my body. He tlien drawed me about fifteen feet. I then 
began to faint. I looked over my shoulder, and saw the flourish of a 
cutlas, which was by a British officer, who said, ' Why ain't you in your 
rant? ' 1 let go of the bayonet, and they went off. 

'■ I then was beset by two men. One look my piece, and said, ' I will 
blow your brains out with your own gun ! ' He snapped it at me ; hut, 
not being loaded', he run upon me like a mad bear, A man sfauding 
by says, ' Let him alone : he has got enough.' One cut away my can- 
teen of rum and my time-piece. I had three days' provision and 
thirty rounds of cartridges, which I had in my blanket. The cry of 
all was, ' Damn the rebel ! why don't you kill hiin ? ' 

" Here there came a man, and demanded my money, I told him I 
would not ; but, if he would help me to a shade, I would give it to him. 
He took towards eight dollars. He took hold of my arms, and took 
me up on my feet ; and my hones grated, and I fainted ; and he laid me 
dowJi in the same place. I was alarmed by a British sei-geant with 
t^¥elve men. They wore green coats, which we call tories. The 
sergeant, a Britoner, I had some talk with. I heard some one cry, 
' Have you got there a rebel ? Why don't you kill him ? ' Two light- 
horse-men appeared. One came towards me, and I gave myself up ; 
but the horse, having more mercy than the man, jumped over me. The 
horseman struck at me, which came very near me. 

"I lay in imminent danger from our artillery. The balls came 
every side of me : one of them came right over me. The sun was so 
hot, that I could not bear my hand on the ground. I covered myseif 
with my blanket to keep off the sun. The eaemy were contuiually 



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ZOI HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

passing. I asked them to help me to a shade. I bappened fo look out, 
and saw Gen. Clinton with his life-guard, with several parade-olReei's. 
The aide-de-camp rode up towards me, and says, 'My lad, are you 
wounded?' I told him. I was ; '1 received my wounds, by balls and 
three bayonet-thrusts, since I fell into your hands. Tou give no 
quarter to-day.' He saya.'Thei-e is no such order.' He says,'The men 
are rash.' I told him, ' Eash or not, this is what we get for using your 
men like brothers. I was at the taking of Eurgoyne, where we took 
their whole ai-my. I never saw one of them abused.' They did not 
want fo hear of that. They asked me the state of our army, and where 
they were. I fold them that I had news from them every minute ; that 
our whole park of artillery were playing upon them now, which were 
six and thirty pieces of artillery. They asked me how many men 
we had. I told them we had a numerous army. They asked what 
detachment I belonged to. ' To Marquis Lafayette's.' They asked 
me what division I belonged to. I told them, ' Gen, Green's division, 
and Gen. Glover's brigade; Col. Bigelow'a regiment, and Capt. Martin's 
company.' They a,sked me what town I belonged to. I told them, 
* Leicester.' They asked me where. I told them, ' Leicester iu the 
countyof Worcester, in the Massachusetts Bay ;' and I was not ashamed 
of it. 

" I lay in a deplorable situation. The sun being about an hour high, 
I perceived their men on the reti-eat. I then laid myself in the very 
posture of a dead man, as near as possible. Their main body marched 
over me ; and I heard their officers say they would halt in that growth 
of woods, and refresh themselves. I heai-d another party, which was 
the covering paity of the artillery ; which marched over me. The 
artilleiy came on, which I expected would go over me. They just 
cleared ray head. They trotted, I perceived somebody at my breast. 
I suppose I stirred. They asked one another whether that man was 
dead. He said he did not know. I heard the piece move, and I knew 
no more till our men passed by. I beckoned to the officer : he came 
with six men, and carried me to the village meeljng-house." 

That officer, as already stated, was Lieut, Washburn, From 
Gen. Washington's letters giving an account of this battle, 
the general action mast have begun about noon ; and I infer, 
from the whole of Mr. Parsons's account, that he, a yoiing 
man never very rugged, scarce twenty-one years of age, must 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 263 

have lain in that burning auiij without sJielter or any mcana 
of quenching his raging thirst, — with his hip dreadfully 
shattered, and his aiins thrust through, — from about twelve 
o'clock till the sun was nearly down. As one reads this 
minute account of a single experience upon a battle-field, he 
is almost ready to believe that there must be some exaggera- 
tion, — that human nature could not have endured so much. 
But, in the first place, every circumstance which he details in 
writing co-incides with the oiEcial accounts of the battle. 
Besides, his own character needed no corroboration to con- 
firm his statement. The crippled condition in which he was, 
from the wounds he then received, for life, was of itself a 
eonfirmatioD ; and I have heard him, more than once, con- 
verse with the ofiicer who discovered and rescued him, of 
the experiences of that day, as a thing familiarly known to 
them both. 

From the Monmouth Meeting-houso, into which, with the 
other wounded, he was carried, he was removed to Princeton 
College ; and from thence to Trenton, until he was able 
to be removed home by his father. Dr. Parsons; where he 
suffered intensely for seven years, before he snificiently 
recovered to engage in any business. 

Another Revolutionary incident may here bo related, from 
the part which was taken in it by one long a citizen of 
Leicester, — Mr. Joseph Bass. He removed here soon after 
the war, having married the mother of Mr. John Hobart.* A 
considerable part of the time, he occupied the house opposite 
Mrs. Newhall's, upon the Rutland Road. He was, while a 
young man, engaged in a seafaring life. The following narra- 
tive I took from his own dictation ; though, so far as I could 
compare it, I found it fully confirmed by the published history 
of the war : — 

In July, 1776, two English frigates, the " Phtenix " and the 
" Rose," succeeded in sailing up the Hudson, and stationed 



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'264: HISTORY 01' I.KIOESTEK. 

themselves near Tarrytown ; cutting off the communication, 
by the river, between the different portions of the American 
Army. In the latter part of that month, a gallant attack waa 
made upon them by six row-galleys, under the command of 
Com. Tupper, from Tarrytown. 

This attempt being unsuccessful (I borrow Irving'a language 
in his " Life of Washington "), " a gallant little exploit, at this 
juncture, gave a fillip to the spirits of the community. Two 
of the iire-ships recently constructed went up the Hudson to 
attempt the destruction of the ships which had so long been 
domineering over its waters. One succeeded in grappling the 
' Phcenix,' and would soon have set her in flames ; but, in 
the darkness, got to leeward, and was cast loose without 
effecting any damage. The other, in making for the ' Rose,' 
fell foul of one of the tenders, grappled and burnt her. The 
enterprise was conducted with spirit, and, though it failed of 
its main object, had an important effect." They soon escaped 
down the river. 

Bass, who had been in the " water-service " under Com. 
Tupper, was, according to his narrative, put in charge of one 
of these fire-ships : the other was under the command of Capt. 
Thomas, of New London. Bass's vessel, called the "PoHy," 
was a sloop of about a hundred tons, nearly now : Thomas's was 
of a smaller size. 

These little vessels were anchored in the mouth of the 
" Spuit-in-Devil Creek." They had been prepared with 
fagots of very combustible wood, dipped in melted pitch ; and 
bundles of straw, cut about a foot in length, and prepared in 
the same way. These fagots filled the deck, and communi- 
cated with a trough of line gunpowder, which extended along 
under the deck, from the hold into the cabin ; and into this 
was inserted a fuse, that might be fired by a person in the 
cabin, who might escape, by means of a door cut in the side 
of the vessel, into a whale-boat which was lashed to the 
" quarter " of the sloop. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 265 



I these combustibles, there wero ten or twelve bar- 
rels of pitch in each vessel ; and a great number of yards of 
canvas, cut in strips about a foot wide, covering the yards 
and rigging, and extending to the deck, all of which had 
been dipped in spirits of turpentine. 

Bass had nine men to his vessel; three of whom he sta^ 
tioned in the whale-boat; one acted as pilot; while he 
stationed himself in the cabin with a lighted match to fire 
the materials. 

Besides the two frigates, there were a bomb-ketch and two 
tenders in company, and moored near them. 

The night was dark and cloudy, with occasionally a little 
rain. The vessels lay moored in a line, about north and 
south, — first the "Phoenix," next the "Rose," then the 
ketch, and above them the tenders. The fire-ships, on 
starting from the creek, took a course near the middle of 
the river ; and the darkness of the night, as well as the 
high bank in their rear, prevented their seeing either the 
hulls or masts of the vessels ; and the first thing that ap- 
prised them of their approach, was hearing, immediately on 
their left, the twelve-o'clock bells of the vessels, and the cry 
of the sentinels, of " All's well 1 " from their decks. For the 
same reason, they could not distinguish the situation of the 
vessels sufficiently to ascertain their size, or which of them 
were the frigates, 

Bass was considerably in advance of Thomas; and, upon 
hearing the cry of the sentinels, bore down at once upon the 
line of the British fleet. He was already near the bomb- 
ketch before he was perceived by the enemy ; who imme- 
diately began a severe cannonade upon his vessel, which 
damaged her rigging and mast, and some of the shot entered 
her hull. But he was under too much headway, and was 
already too near to retj-eat if he had been inclined. As soon 
as he saw himself near enough to the vessel towards which 
he was steering, to be sure she would not escape, he gave 



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266 HISTORY or Leicester. 

orders to hie men to take to the boat, and, touching the 
fuse, leaped into the whale-boat, and cast off from his ship. 
Her course had been surely directed ; and, the next moment, 
the grappling-irons upon her bowsprit and yards became 
interlocked with the rigging of what proved to be the 
ketch, and they were both immediately in a blaze. The 
fire of the burning ship hghted up the surrounding scenery 
with a horrid glare of splendor. The ketch, with most on 
board her, were burned or drowned ; a few only escaping. 

Capt. Thomas, by the light of Bass's ship, bore down upon 
the " Phcenix," and became grappled with her. He then 
applied the match; but, becoming entangled with his own 
fire, was obliged to leap into the river. He lost five of his 
men, while Bass escaped without the loss of one. The 
"Phcenix" succeeded in cutting loose from her dangerous 
assailant by cutting her rigging and slipping her cable. 

It was an. exceedingly bold and hazardous enterprise ; and, 
if it did not accomplish all it proposed, it infused so much 
terror into the minds of the commanders of the British 
vessels, that they immediately withdrew from so dangerous a 
vicinity. 

This account, substantially as above given, was prepared 
and published in a periodical more than thirty years ago,* as 
taken directly from the principal actor himself, — an unlet- 
tered man; and the co-incidence of his statement, even in 
minute particulars, with the authentic narrative of history, 
leaves no reasonable doubt of its correctness even in its 
details. 

I have spoken in another place of the black man, by the 
name of Peter Salem, who shot down Major Pitcairn at the 
battle of Bunker Hill. After the war, he came to Leicester, 
and continued to reside there till a short time before his 
death. The history of the town would be incomplete without 

■ Mr, BaSB died in 1820, aged saventj-iiva. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 267 

giving him a place ; and I am happy that I can borrow from 
so authentic and interesting a history as Mr. Barry's, of 
Framingham, for the early life of this "hero of '76." 

He was born in Framingham, and was held as a slave, 
probably until he joined the army ; whereby, if not before, he 
became free. This was the case with many of the slaves 
in Massachusetts ; as no slave could be mustered into the 
army. If a master suffered this to be done, it worked a 
practical emancipation. Peter served faithfully as a soldier, 
during the war, in Col. Nixon's regiment. A part of the 
time he was the servant of Col. Nixon, and always spoke of 
him in terms of admiration. 

He lived in various places in the town ; but his last abode 
was a cabin which he built for himself, on the south side of 
the road leading to Auburn, about a quarter of a mile from 
the house formerly of William Watson. In front of his cabin 
he planted and reared two or tliree poplar-trees; and, around 
it, dug and cultivated a little garden, in which, besides the 
few vegetables that he planted, a few clumps of flowering 
shrubs and a stinted rose or two, with a few sweet-smelling 
herbs, gave evidence of his unequal struggle with a hard and 
rocky soil. 

Horticulture, however, was not his forte. He earned a 
precarious livelihood by making and mending baskets, bottom- 
ing chairs, and the like; which gave him admittance into 
everybody's house, where his good nature rendered him a 
universal favorite, especially with the children. His military 
training in the army had given him a sort of instinctive 
soldierly bearing; and his habits of obedience there to his 
superiors, infused, into all his intercourse with the consider- 
able people of the town, a marked courtesy of mannei', which 
he never omitted or forgot. 

It was always a pleasant sight to observe the promptness 
and precision with which the heel of Peter's right foot found 
its way into the hollow of his left one, his body grow erect. 



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268 lilSTORY or iJUCKSTER. 

and the right hand spring up to a level with hia eye, to salute 
Massa Moore or Mistress D. on passing, in return for the 
salutation or nod of recognition with which everybody 
greeted him. 

It was a treat, too, for the yovinger members of the family 
to gather around Peter, while engaged in mending the house- 
hold chairs ; or, sitting in the chimney corner, with the 
youngest on his knee, while the flickering blaze lighted up 
his black face, to listen to his stories of the war, and what 
he had seen " when he was out with Massa Nixon." 

He was especially at home at the firesides of those who 
had been in " the service," and generally found a welcome 
chair at the hospitable board. They were, to him, companions 
in anna ; and he never seemed to think he could grow old 
while any of them remained to answer his roll-call. 

But though Peter had gone through seven years' hard ser- 
vice unharmed, and had not lost a jot of his freshness of 
feehng, age crept upon him unawares at last. His erect form 
began to stoop ; his military step grew unsteady ; the thinned 
and whitened covering which had concealed an ugly wen or 
two, that had perched themselves upon the top of his head, 
no longer served to screen this defect in his personal sym- 
metry. His resources grew smaller and smaller ; till, at last, 
tlie hand of charity had to supply the few wants which the 
old man required. 

In this reapect, there is a frightful equahty in the law. 
Overseers of the poor never heed whether the man that is 
hungry is a saint or a sinner. If he needs fire to warm or 
clothes to cover him, though scarred all over in the service 



of his country, it is thei 

ment," and give notice, 

Peter's settlement was 



'.V " duty " to hunt up his " settle- 

the law requires, 
n Framingham, and the good people 
of that town took early measures for his removal thither. 

It was a sad day to Peter ; but, before talcing his final 
departure, he went around and made a farewell visit to each 
of his favorite haunts, and to such of his old friends as 



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HISTORY OF LEICKSTEE. 



269 



time had spared. With a heavy heart, he paid them his last 
salute, and disappeared from the spot which had been his 
home for so many years. His cabin soon went to decay. A 
rongh stone chimney served for many years to mark where 
it had stood ; and the lilac and the rose he planted, bloomed 
for a few yeara, and were then broken down, and died. The 
last object that marked the spot was a poplar-tree ; and even 
that has grown old, and will ere long disappear. 

But will any one say that this humble black man, whose 
hand did such service in the very redoubt on Bunker Hill ; 
who perilled his life, through some of the most trying and 
arduous scenes of the war, for that freedom for others which 
he had never been permitted to share till he won it personally 
by personal valor, — will any one say that his name does not 
deserve a place among those whom it is the purpose of these 
simple annals to commemorate? 

He died at Framingham, Aug. 16, 1816. 
Of Capt. John Holden, I have been able to learn very 
little. From one of his descendants, I find that he was horn 
at Concord in 1753; entered the army, and was at the battle 
of Banker Hill ; served through the war ; and left the army, 
at the peace, with the rank of captain. I have mentioned 
elsewhere his having been of the party which so gallantly 
stormed Stony Point under Gen. Wayne, — one of the most 
signal acts of bravery which took place during the war. I 
have often heard him allude to it, though never in detail. 

After leaving the army, he went to reside in Holden ; 
where he married Zipporah Hall in 1789. He removed from 
there to Paxton, and thence to Leicester, previous to 1804. 
He had a numerous family of children, and lived in a house 
(now removed) which stood on the east sido of the Eutland 
Road, a little north of the Huhbard House, where Jacob 
Bond lived. His wife died in January, 1827: he died March 
13, 1828. He had lived long enough in the town to be fami- 
liarly known to its citizenfl, and sufficiently identified with its 
history to bo mentioned in connection with it. 



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IIISTOllY or LEICESTER, 



CHAPTER VIII. 

CONNECTION OF THE TOWN WITH THE GENERAL HISTORY OF THE 
COMMONWEALTH. — FRENCH AND REVOLUTIONARY WARS. — CON- 
STITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AND OF THE STATE.— WARS 
WITH FRANCE AND ENGLAND. — CONCLUSION. 

In attempting to trace the part which the people of this town 
took, from time to time, in the general affairs of the country, 
it will be obvious that the topics must be few in number. 

They bore their share in the wars which preceded the final 
expulsion of the armies of Prance from Canada, upon its con- 
quest in 1759 and '60. In the controversies with the mother 
country, they took an early and active part ; and, in the strug- 
gle of the Revolution, evinced a prompt and cordial co-opera- 
tion in all the public measures it involved. After the peace, 
the town was, in the maintenance of government and order, 
true to its early history ; and in none of the agitating ques- 
tions which engaged the attention of the people at large 
was it an indifferent or an inactive spectator. 

Somewhat may be said of the history of the town in these 
particulars ; and, though it may involve much that might 
seem to be altogether local in its interest, it has seemed to 
me to be the most fit connection in which to present what I 
have been able to glean upon the subject from the limited 
materials within my reach, 

I found it impossible to ascertain the names or numbers of 
all its citizens who were called into actual service during 
the wars which preceded the Revolution. I have discovered 
a few of these by researches in the muster-rolls which are to 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 371 

be found in the State House in Boston ; bnt I am, apprehen- 
sive that it is far from embracing the entire number. 

In a chapter of this work upon the " Army, &c.," I have 
preserved the names of those from Leicester who took part 
in the wars before the Revolution as well as during that 
struggle, so far as they have been ascertained ; and, conse- 
quently, shall have no occasion to repeat them again in this. 

Troops were stationed here in the Indian War of 1722; it 
being then a frontier settlement. 

The war which was declared against Prance in 1744 aroused 
a general enthusiasm and zeal in the Colony ; and the expe- 
dition which was organized the following year to make a 
descent upon Cape Breton, with a view of conquering the 
military works at Louisburg, called out such a proportion of 
the entire military of Massachusetts, that I am justified in 
assuming that Leicester contributed liberally of men towards 
the enterprise. 

Massachusetts furnished three thousand two hundred and 
fifty of the four thousand troops, by whom, chiefly, that 
stronghold was taken, — an exploit that shed lustre upon the 
fame of the Provincial troops, and told upon their courage 
and self-reliance in after-days when their children met the de- 
scendants of their former companions and associates of '45 
at Lexington and Bunker Hill. John Brown of Leicester 
commanded a company in that expedition. Two only of the 
number have I been able to trace; and, whether the balance 
of his company was from this town, I have no means of 
saying. 

The following year, the country was greatly alarmed by an 
invasion, threatened by a formidable French fleet ; which was 
planned, and so fer carried out as to have aiTived off Nova 
Scotia, under the command of Duke D'Anville. A draught 
of twenty-five men was made from Leicester, to march, without 
a moment's delay, to Boston. The order for this draught, and 
the pressing nature of the call for troops, will be found in 



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272 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

another part of this work, when speaking of Capt. Nathaniel 
Green, to whom it was addressed. 

The draught was answered, and the men marched ; but, 
fortunately, there was no occasion for their services. The 
French fleet was scattered by a storm, the commander com- 
mitted suicide, and the expedition was abandoned. 

To guard the frontier settlements, during this war, from the 
Indians, troops were stationed at Coleraine and at Fort Massa- 
chusetts, between what is now Adams and Williamstown, I 
find one man from Leicester among the troops at Coleraine 
during the winter of 1747-8, and three at Fort Massachusetts, 
Besides these, an expedition was planned in 1747 against 
Canada; in which Massachusetts, as usual, took a leading part, 
and furnished a large proportion of the troops. Leicester 
bore her share in the enterprise ; and I find the following 
entry upon her records, though I am unable to ascertain the 
names of the persons alluded to. In the warrant for March 
meeting, 1748, it ia recited, " Whereas there has been several 
persons that have enlisted into the Canada expedition, these 
are to see if the town will abate them of their rates the year 
past." 

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in October, 1748, put an end 
to this war ; nor were hostilities commenced until 1754, and 
then without any formal declaration of war. This war, though 
not formally declared till two years after the commencement 
of hostilities in America, became memorable as the last of 
those French and Indian wars which had kept the Colonies in 
a state of danger and alarm, and cost them so much blood and 
treasure. It was the opening scene in the military career of 
Gen. Washington, and was signalized by the disastrous defeat 
of Gen. Braddock, the massacre of Fort William Henry, the 
taking of Quebec, and the final subjugation of Canada ; and 
the part which the colonists took in the various expeditions 
and battles to which this war gave rise became such a school 
for the practical training of their troops, that the opening 



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HISTORY OF LEIC£ST]=:r. 273 

scenes of the Revolution found officers already educated and 
men already disciplined for the camp and the field. 

In 1754, an expedition of eight hundred men, under Gen. 
Window, was sent into Maine to ho!d the French and Indians 
in check. I find the names of three men from Leicester upon 
the rolls of that expedition, in the service from April to No- 
vember of that year. 

In 1756, an expedition was planned against Crown Point, 
to consist of ten thousand men; and an order was issued for 
enlisting a thousand men within the counties of Worcester 
and Hampshire, Under this order, eleven were enlisted from 
Leicester, and belonged to the company of Capt. John Steb- 
bins, who had formerly belonged to Leicester, but then lived 
in Spencer, and died, while in the service in this expedition, in 
1756. The company belonged to the regiment of Col, Rug- 
gles, afterwards the famous Brig.-Gen. Ituggles, of Hardwick. 
There being a deficiency in the requisite number of men, 
four more were enlisted from Leicester. 

In July, three more joined the army at Fort Edward, in 
addition to one who had previously joined it; and, in Sep- 
tember, four more were called for, and two of them impressed 
for the same service. They joined the array at Fort William 
Henry. Two others, who had been, or soon after became, 
inhabitants of the town, were in the same expedition. 

It will be perceived that there were draughted more than 
twenty men in a single year from a town containing scarcely 
six hundred souls, struggling with all the difficulties of a new 
settlement, and little able to spare the services of its active 
young men who were called to join the army. It serves 
to show the nature of the struggle in which the Colonies 
wore engaged, and the extent to which a people thus situated 
were willing to make sacrifices for a common cause. 

Of all this number, two only did not voluntarily enlist ; nor 
were those who joined the army mere adventurers, or such 
as were willing to throw off the restraints of home for the 



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274; HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 

greater license of the camp. They were of various ages, 
from nineteen to thirty. Several had wives, and most of them 
had connections of family and homes, which they must have 
given up with roluctance and regret. For instance, Parley 
Brown, a son of one of the most conaiderabie men in the 
town, was nineteen years old ; while the father-in-law, brother- 
in-law, and brother, of Seth Washburn, who had served in one 
expedition himself against the Indians in 1749, were of the 
number who enlisted in that of 1756. 

The operations of the year 1756 were, however, mostly 
unsuccessful ; and the French, at the opening of the campaign 
of 17d7, continued to advance upon the English posts in the 
northern parts of New York. Under Gen. Montcalm, they 
invested Fort William Ilenry, on Lake George, in August, and 
compelled the garrison to surrender. This was followed by 
what has been ever since known as the " Massacre of Fort 
William Henry," 

Among those who were present in the fort at the time of its 
surrender was Mr. Knight Sprague, then of Hingham, but, 
for most of a long life, a citizen of Leicester ; from whose 
narrative I have transcribed the incidents of which he was a 
spectator, and in which he participated. He belonged to 
Col,, afterward Gen. Benjamin Lincoln's regiment ; and was, 
at that time, only sixteen years of age. 

According to his account, the fort was surrendered about 
ten o'clock on Wednesday morning. The English were de- 
tained till the next morning, and, during that time, were 
guarded by the French troops, and protected from the sav- 
ages : but as soon as the army had left the fort to take up 
their march towards Fort Edward, according to the terms of 
the capitulation, the Indians rushed upon them, and began 
to kill and strip them; and every eifort on the part of the 
French to restrain them was unavailing. Sprague escaped, 
after having been partially stripped, and made his way to 
Fort Edward. On his way, he passed his captain, who had 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 275 

been entirely stripped, and many women who were in no 
better condition. Tlie yells of the savages, the groans of the 
wounded and dying, the shrieks of the affrighted women and 
frantic soldiers, and the dead who lay scattered around them, 
made it a scene of unsurpassed horror. Fifteen out of his 
own company of fifty were killed soon after leaving the fort. 
Nor is it surprising that the massacre of Fort William Henry 
became one of the memorable events in that last, protracted 
death-struggle for ascendency on the part of France, in a 
country over which, at one time, she seemed destined to 
become the acknowledged mistress. 

Mr. Sprague often saw Munroe, the English commander of 
the fort ; as well as Montcalm, the general of the French 
trooops. The former he represented as a dignified gentle- 
man of about fifty years of age ; the latter, a finely formed, 
active, and graceful man, of small stature. The following year, 
Sprague had the satisfaction of taking part in the attack 
upon Fort Frontinac, on Lake Ontario, under Col. Bradstreet, 
and to witness the surrender of that fortress. 

The scenes in which these and the other Provincial troops 
of that day were engaged have become all but classic ground. 
History and fiction have combined to keep alive the interest 
which no one can fail to feel on visiting these fields, on which 
the fathers of Now England fought with a courage and devo- 
tion worthy of the best days of Greece or Rome. Every 
rock and glen teems with the associations of events v^hich 
are so intimately connected with a most important historic 
period of our conntry. Here Baron Dieskeau and Col. Wil- 
liams fell in 1755 ; and here the same flag was struck down 
on the ramparts of William Henry by Baron Montcalm, in 
1757, which in 1759 waved in triumph over his grave on the 
heights of Abraham, and floated above the citadel of con- 
quered Quebec. 

No sound of war now breaks the silence which reigns over 
the spot where the crumbling bastions of that once memo- 



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41b HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

rable fortress stood ; and forest-trees were a few years since 
growing within its intrenchments, to shelter it, as it were, 
from the decay which was fast obliterating its embrasures and 
breastworks,* 

If these simple annals may serve to preserve the names of 
a few of the humble actors in those scenes, its purposes will 
not have entirely failed. 

The war terminated practically in America by the sur- 
render of Quebec ; but levies continued to be made until the 
peace of 1763. In 1761 and '62, 1 find six, at least, drawn 
from Leicester for military service, though the length of the 
service is not specified. One of the expeditions in which 
three of these were engaged was beyond the North lliver; 
but the place of its destination does not appear upon the roll 
from which the names are copied. 

No circumstance of a public nature appears to have oc- 
curred, after the close of the last French War, to call upon 
the town for action, until those measures of the British mini- 
stry which began to awaken the attention of the Colonies, 
and led on, step by step, to their final severance from the 
mother-country. 

The part which this town took in carrying forward the 
measures of the Uevolution is one of which her sons had a 
right to be proud. To appreciate these, and to understand 
the circumstances under which the town acted, it ia neces- 
sary that we should consider for a moment the situation and 
resources of its inhabitants. 

I suppose, that, at no time during the war, the population of 
the town exceeded nine hundred persons ; and a statement, 
professing to be authentic, places it below that number. As 
for its actual wealth, I have no valuation taken during or im- 
mediately preceding the war to guide me. It was, however, 

* I apeak of this fortress aa it appeared upon a visit to it thirty years ago. From 
niivertisements in tbe newspapers, a magnificent faotel, it n'ouid seem, had sprnng up 
upon a spot bo long memorable in the annals of our Colonial history. 



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HISTOKY OF LEICESTER. 377 

a mere agricultural community, without trade or manufac- 
tures ; and its soil a hardy and unproductive one. The 
whole number borne upon the list of the trainbands of the 
town in 1781 was but a hundred and fifty-one, of whom forty- 
nine were upon what was called the " alarm-list ; " leaving only 
a hundred and two supposed to be competent for active mili- 
tary duty. 

But, with no other than ordinary meaus of education, the 
town seems to have poasessod an unusual proportion of not 
only strong-minded, but well-educated men. The record they 
have left of the public papers which were produced between 
1765 and 1776 bears honorable testimony to the patriotic zeal, 
the scholarly attainments, and the sound statesmanship, of 
those who took a lead in the utterance of the public senti- 
ment of the town. One circumstance had an important influ- 
ence in producing a harmony of feohng and a promptness of 
action on the part of the town ; and that was the intimate 
family connection which existed between several of the 
people of Leicester and the leading men of Boston, where 
most of the early Revolutionary movements originated. 

The mother of the Hon. Joseph Allen, who had himself 
removed from Boston in November, 1771, was a sister of 
Samuel Adams. The Henshaws, Joseph and William, had 
also come from Boston, and were connected with many of the 
patriot families there ; and Joshua Henshaw, who came into 
town just before the Kevolution brote out, and whose daughter 
had married Joseph Henshaw, was on terms of intimate asso- 
ciation and correspondence with the Adamses, James Otis, 
Warren, and the other leaders of public opinion in Boston. 
If, then, it might seem that the town took a prominent 
and leading part in these measures, disproportioned to its 
relative magnitude and resources, it may not have been that 
they were actuated by any warmer or more devoted zeal for 
the cause; but because, by being earlier advised than some 
of the towns in respect to the measures to be adopted, they 



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278 HISTOilY OF LEICESTER. 

may have taken earlier action, and hold a more prominent 
position, than other communities equally deserving of com- 
mendation. 

In its early history, the town must have been eminent for 
its loyalty to the crown. In the notice of Judge Menzies, 
given in another part of this work, it will have been seen, 
that, while a representative from the town, he was expelled 
from the House for his excess of loyalty to tho king. Judge 
Steele, long a leading and influential citizen of the town, 
remained true to his loyalty to the last ; but, when the war 
broke out, there was, besides him, not a single man of influ- 
ence who was not a thorough and decided " liberty man." 
Prominent among these were Joseph Allen, John Brown, the 
Dennys, the Greens, the Henshaws, Seth Washburn, Hezekiah 
. Ward, John Southgate, and others, whose names will appear 
in the following pages. They could not fail to shape the 
opinions and give direction to the judgment of such a com- 
munity. 

But in maintaining the assumption, that this town furnished 
its full share of wise counsellors, brave soldiers, and patriotic 
citizens, towards achieving our national independence, it wiU 
be necessary to do httle more than give in thoir order the 
facts which the records of the town furnish of tho sacrifices 
made, the services rendered, and the moneys expended, by 
them in the prosecution of the war. If, in these respects, 
she was surpassed by any of her sister-towns, it is believed 
that the history of those towns is yet to be written. 

In the matter of scholarship, Joseph Henshaw had received 
a collegiate education ; Joseph Allen and William Henshaw 
had had the advantages of the classical schools of Boston ; 
and Thomas Denny must have cultivated a taste for reading, 
and skill in composition. But of some, if not most, of the 
others, they had few if any advantages beyond the most 
limited teachings of schools for a few weeks each year. The 
grammar and spelling of many of the public papers which 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 279 

some of these men were called upon to prepare, indicate but 
little familiarity with these graceful and convenient, if not 
necessary, accomplishments in a writer. 

In the matter of military skill and experience, the people 
of the town must have possessed a good share of that ele- 
ment, John Brown had been a captain at Louisburg ; William 
Henshaw had served as a subaltern officer under Gen. Aber- 
crombie in 1756 ; and Seth Washburn had served in one 
campaign against the Indians. Besides these, four or five of 
Capt. Washburn's company of minute-men had served in the 
campaigns against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and others 
were living in the town at the time, who had learned war 
under oificers of the crown. 

Not to anticipate, it will be ray purpose to present, in a 
chronological order of events, the part which the town took 
in the affairs of the Revolution ; bat being, as it was, the 
great historical event of the State, as well as of all the older 
towns of the Commonwealth, the reader ought not to expect 
any thing new or original in the narrative. 

Not to go farther back into that chain of causes which led 
to the scenes of 1775, Parliament had, in 1763, passed the 
" Acts of Trade," which bore hardly upon the business and 
commerce of New England. The plan of taxing the Colonies 
was thus early broached and discussed, but not then adopted. 
This led to a correspondence between Massachusetts and 
others of the Colonies. In 1764, the " Sugar Act," as it was 
called, was passed, and was intended as an incipient measure 
of taxation. A Stamp Act was proposed, but did not then 
pass ; but a measure quite as offensive was adopted, by which 
all breaches of the revenue laws were required to be tried in 
Courts of Admiralty, without the intervention of a jury. The 
alarm thus created was general : for the people had regarded 
trial by jury as one of the great safeguards of their liberties ; 
and, as such, it had come down to them with the common law 
which their fathers had brought with them from I 



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380 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

This was followed by the famous Stamp Act of 1765. The 
Colonies were aroused by & sense of impending danger ; and 
Massachusetts proposed a General Congress of the Colonies, 
to be held in October of that year. In the mean time, riota 
occarred in various places ; and one of tho most memorable 
and disgraceful of these outbreaks was that by which, on 
the 26th August, 1765, the costly mansion-house of Lient.- 
Gov. Hutchinson, with its furniture, plate, and, above all, 
his invaluable collection of books and manuscripts, were 
destroyed ; a loss which no one, intei'ested in the early 
history of the Colony, can ever cease to deplore. In this 
agitated state of the public mind, the people of Leicester, 
Spencer, and Paxton, then forming one district for repre- 
sentative purposes, were called together, on the 17th October, 
1765, " to see if the town will give instructions to their 
representative in this critical conjuncture." 

John Brown was their representative, and had been since 
1761. Daniel Henshaw, Thomas Denny, Jonathan Newhall, 
of Leicester; Benjamin Johnson, who had removed from 
Leicester to Spencer; Joshua Lamb of Spencer; and Jona- 
than Knight, whose son and grandson afterwards lived in 
Leicester, of Paxton, — were appointed a committee to prepare 
these instructions. Their report was adopted after some 
additions, and entered of record as a part of the proceedings 
of the town. It was probably from the pen of Thomas Denny. 
These resolutions will be found at large in the Appendix, 
to this work, and will amply repay by their perusal any one 
who wishes to understand the tone of public sentiment at that 
time, and the intelligent basis upon which it rested. 

The next recorded action of the town was the adoption of 
resolutions, Sept. 19, 1768 ; setting forth in plain and forcible 
language the political duties and rights of the Colonies, as 
they were apprehended by the people of this town. These, 
too, will be found in the Appendix ; and are an unmistakablo 
index of the thoughts and sentiments which had been occu- 



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UISTORY OV LEICESTER. 281 

pying the minds of the people bctwoon their former meeting 
in 1765 and the time of their adoption. They had studied 
their rights as Englishmen ; and, while they never thought of 
compromising their loyalty to the king, they insisted upon 
the privileges and protection guaranteed to them by Magna 
Charta and the Bill of Hights. The paper is worthy of the 
men, the time, and the cause to which it owed its origin. 

It was during this year (1768) that Massachusetts addressed 
a circular to the other Provinces upon the subject of the 
grievances which they were suffering in the duties and taxes 
imposed upon them by the mother-country. This called down 
upon them the severe animadversions of the Earl of HiOsbo- 
rough, in a communication which was laid by Gov. Bernard 
before the Legislature. This led to a reply on the part of 
the House, and a message to the Governor, which so exaspe- 
rated him that he dissolved the Legislature. It was followed 
by a spirited convention of representatives of the several 
towns, held in Boston; which fills quite a space in Hutchin- 
son's third volume of his History. Leicester was represented 
in that convention by Capt. Brown ; and that fact, as weU as 
the occasion for calling it, are alluded to in the resolutions 
above referred to. This convention was called by the people 
of Boston assembled in town-meeting. It met, Sept. 22, 1768, 
in Faneuil Hall, and continued in session till the 29th, Its 
purpose professed to be that such measures might be con- 
certed and advised as his majesty's service, and the peace 
and safety of his subjects in the Province, might require. 
As the occasion for calling it was the refusal of the Governor 
to convene the Legislature after proroguing it on the 30th 
of June, and thon dissolving it by proclamation on the 1st 
of July, it was decidedly a revolutionary measure ; and so it 
was esteemed by the government here and at homo, and gave 
great cause of uneasiness. Circulars had been addressed to 
the various towns of the Province, ninety of whom had re- 
sponded by sending delegates, authorized and ready to adopt 



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282 HISTORY Oi' LEICESTER. 

any measures which the exigencies of tho times demanded. 
" That it was a high ofFeace," says Hutchinson, " it was 
generally agreed. Some would make the act of the seloct- 
men of Eoeton to he treason ; and pains were taken to pri> 
cure and preserve some of the original letters signed by 
them." 

A compact was entered into by most of the merchants and 
principal people of Boston, in August, 1768, not to import 
English goods; especially tea, paper, glass, and the other 
things upon which duties had been imposed. 

The next measure of the ministry which served to excite 
new fears and create new causes of alienation on the part of 
the Colonies, was the threatening to visit upon them the con- 
sequences of treason and rebellion, and to transport them for 
trial to Great Britain. Thiswas followed, on the part ofVir- 
ginia, by resolutions not to import British goods ; in which 
they were joined by like resolutions on the part of South 
Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, and New York. 

In January, 1770, the people of this town assembled, and 
voted not to purchase Euiy thing of those merchants in Boston 
who imported goods from Great Britain ; and adopted a reso- 
lution of thanks to those merchants, who, by refusing to 
import such goods, sacrificed their own interest to the good 
of their country. This meeting was called upon the peti- 
tion of twenty-eight persons, which was drawn by William 
Henshaw, dated Dec. 25, 1769, in the following words : — 

" Whereas there are several persons in this Province who have sor- 
didly detaehecl themselves from the public interest, and have taken 
advantage of the agreement entered into by the mei-chants for non- 
importation, thereby endeavoring to defeat their noble design of saving 
their country from slavery ; we, the subscribers, will endeavor by all 
lawful means to prevent their base designs : and, for that end, we pray 
that yon will grant a warrant for the calling a town-meeting to act on 
the following articles ; viz., to vote that any person, being an inhabi- 
tant of Leicester, who shall, directly or indirectly, purchase any goods 
or merchandise of John Barnard, James and Patrick M'Mastera, John 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 283 

Mien, Ann and Klizabeth Cummings, all of Boston ; Henry Barnet of 
Marlborough ; Dunkiii and Campbell of Worcester ; or any other per- 
son who imports goods from Great liritain, or shopkeeper who purchases 
of any imported contrary to the agreement entered into by the mer- 
chants of Boston, — such peraons so offending shall be deemed enemies 
to America, and, as such, shall be recorded in the town's book of 
records." 

The loss of trade arising from these compacts not to pur- 
chase Eoghsh goods had such a disastrous effect upon the 
business of that country, that, in March following (1770), it 
was voted to repeal all these obnoxious duties, except that 
upon tea. Nothing could have been more misjudged than 
retaining this. It showed, by the repeal of the other duties, 
how much the country had been troubled by the retaliatory 
acts of the Colonies ; and it did little more than keep alive the 
source of irritation which drove them at last to exasperation. 

We see, as we trace the events that took place at this 
period, how tlie people grew more and more bold and resolute 
in their resolutions tilt the final rupture. Besolutions were 
followed by acts. They first studied and settled in their 
own minds what were their rights, and next took measures 
to maintain them. 

In May, 1770, a company of forty-six men belonging to 
this town formed an association to famdiarizo themselves 
with the drill and manual of the soldier ; and devoted after- 
noons every week to the purpose, although the season of 
the year rendered such a loss of time from the business 
of their farms especially inconvenient. They elected William 
Henshaw, captain ; Seth Washburn, lieutenant ; and Samuel 
Denny, ensign. 

In 1771, the town took the decided step of voting to pur- 
chase one hundred pounds of powder, with bullets and flints 
in proportion. 

Until this time (1771), the Governor had been dependent 
upon the Legislature for the payment of his salary ; but, in 



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284 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

order to relieve him from the constant annoyance to which 
he had been subjected daring the growing controversy 
between the prerogative and the people by their refusing to 
provide him a proper support, it was resolved by the govern- 
ment at home to pay him a fixed salary of an adequate amount 
out of the American revenue. This gave great umbrage to 
the people. The General Court, in 1772, adopted strong and 
decided resolutions against it, as being an infraction of their 
charter ; but it was from Boston, as usual, that the most 
systematic efforts emanated for enlightening and arousing 
the public mind. 

One of the memorable town-meetings of Boston was called 
on the 2d November, 1772; when a large committee, at the 
head of which was James Otis, was raised, " to state the rights 
of the colonists, and of this Province in particular, as men, 
as Christians, and as subjects ; to communicate and publish 
the same to the several towns in the Province, and to the 
world, as the sense of this town, with the infringements and 
violations thereof that have been, or from time to time may 
be, made. Also requesting of each town a free communica- 
tion of their sentiments on the subject." 

When it is remembered, that, in addition to its chairman 
being James Otis, that committee embraced among its num- 
bers Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, and Josiah Quincy, it is 
unnecessary to say that their report presented the rights and 
the wrongs of the Colony with a power and an effect that 
were felt throughout Massachusetts and beyond its borders. 

Leicester received one of these reports, and immediately 
convened its inhabitants " to hear a letter from the town of 
Boston, with a pamphlet accompanying it, wherein the rights 
of the colonists are stated, with the infringement thereof; 
and to consider and advise thereon, and come into such mea- 
sures as the town may think proper, in co-operation with the 
other towns in the Province, either by instructing our repre- 
sentative, or any other means that may appear to them best to 



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HISTOllY OF LEICESTER. 285 

coDtribute to tlie restoring those privileges we are deprived 
of, or establishing those we enjoy." 

This meeting was heid on the 4th January, 1773. At this 
meeting, the town voted, ^ — - 

" 1st, That the rights, as tliereiti stated, do belong to thii inli alii tan ts 
of this Province. 

" 2d, That they would dicKiae a committee of nine persons to take 
the matter into consideration, and report, as soon as may he, what they 
think proper for this town to do." 

The committee consisted of Capt. Brown, William Hen- 
shaw, and Hezekiah Ward, of Leicester ; Moses Livcrmore 
and Joshna Lamb, of Spencer ; Capt. Witt, Capt. Brown, and 
Willard Moore, of Paxton.* 

The committee prepared a series of resolves ; which, with 
the instruction at the same time adopted, to be communi- 
cated to thoir representative, will be found in the Appendix, 
These papers were undoubtedly from the pen of William 
Henshaw. Additional instructions were adopted, in May 
following, at the election of their representative. Seth Wash- 
bum was moderator of the meeting ; but the record does not 
indicate who prepared these. Several of the papers of that 
day were the productions of the ready and vigorous pen of 
Joseph Allen, Esq. The instructions are copied into the 
Appendix, and speak, in their language, the spirit that dic- 
tated the measures of the men who had then assembled. 

Every thing, in the mean time, had been growing more and 
more threatening. The tea had been thrown into the dock 
at Boston. The letters of Gov. Hutchinson to the ministry 
had been discovered by some mysterious agency, and pub- 
lished in the Colony; and the governor had become suspected, 
and detested by the people generally. 

Great injustice was undoubtedly done to Gov. Hutchin- 
son in regard to the measures of the ministry. He was a 

• This wHE Miyor Moore, who was killed at the battle of Bunker Bill. 



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280 HISTORY OF LKICKSTER. 

loyalist, ambitious of royal favor, and shared largely in the 
royal patronage ; but Massachusetts was his birthplace and 
his home ; and the printed works that he left show with 
what sentiments of affection he ever regarded her. 

In December, 1773, another meeting of the people of 
Leicester, Spencer, and Paxton, was held; and resolutions 
were adopted, which will be found in the Appendix. A com- 
mittee of fourteen was appointed " to inspect any teas that 
may be sold or consumed in the town and district aforesaid, 
and report, at the annual meeting in May, the names of the per- 
sons so offending; and it was ordered, that the proceedings 
of the meeting should be recorded, and forwaxded by the 
Committee of Correspondence to the committee in Boston. 

Pariiament, exasperated by the destruction of the tea, now 
maddened the people still more by undertaking to punish 
Boston by passing the famous " Boston Port Bill " early in 
1774, The Boston Committee of Correspondence thereupon 
addressed letters to the several towns in the Colony. Many 
of the replies to them have recently been published by the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. 

It is diiScult for \i3, at this time, to understand how slow 
and infrequent was the communication between one part of 
the country and another. It was almost impossible to reach 
the great body of the people. Instead of a press sending 
out its newspapers daily into every hamlet, and almost every 
house, in the land, so that what is said or thought in Boston 
in the morning is read by or before the next morning all 
over the State, the only way of communicating with the 
masses was by pamphlets and circulars ^sent to the several 
towns by special messengers, and then calling the people for- 
mally together, and reading these in their hearing. 

I happen to have before me a memorandum in a private 
diary, which illustrates the slow transmission of news at that 
day. The tea, it will be recollected, was destroyed in Boston 
on the evening of the 16th December. The entry in the 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 287 

diary I am speaking of — and it was tliat of a man much 
engaged in public business at the time, and living upon the 
Great Post Road— was "Monday, 21st December, spent at 
home. Heard of the destruction of (he East-India Company's 
tea in Boston by a body of three hundred men ; taken out of 
the vessels, and thrown overboard." 

The efficiency of these Committees of Correspondence was 
manifested in various ways during the whole struggle with 
the Royal Government. It is hardly too much to say, that, at 
times, they were the government. Whatever emanated from 
the central body was sure, in a few days, to reach every part 
of the Colony. 

In May, 1774, in addition to instructions to their represen- 
tative, the town voted to answer a letter just received by 
them from the Committee of Correspondence in Boston. A 
committee, for the purpose of preparing resolutions, was 
raised, consisting of James Baldwin, jun., Joseph Henshaw, 
Oliver Witt, Joseph Allen, Oliver Watson, Lieut. Lamb, and 
Willard Moore; while the letter was referred to the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence of the town. The resolutions and 
letter which were reported and adopted are copied into the 
Appendix. The letter was transmitted by the clerk of the 
town to the town-clerk of Boston, 

The ministry went on madly in their measures of alienation 
and exaspei-ation by the appointment of " Mandamus Coun- 
cillors " in the place of their being elected, as provided in 
the Province Charter; and by prohibiting the assembling 
of the people in their town-meetings, except for specific 
purposes. 

The people grew justly alarmed at these strides towards 
despotic power; and a town-meeting was held in Boston, from 
which an appeal emanated in May to their own fellow-citi- 
zens and the people of the other Colonies. The proposition 
was made for the suspension of all commerce with Great 
Britain. 



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288 HISTORY 01'' LEICilSTKR. 

In June, there was a warrant issued for a meeting of this 
town, on the 6th July, to consider the state of the public affairs. 
They uttered their sentiments, as usual, in the form of re- 
solves. The committee who were to prepare these seem to 
have been carefully selected, and consisted of Thomas Denny, 
Joseph Henshaw, and Joseph Allen, of Leicester; James 
Draper and Joseph Wilson, of Spencer ; and Oliver Witt and 
Italph Earle, of Paxfcon. They are quite extended ; but their 
perusal is the best means I have for exhibiting what the 
people thought and how they felt at that time. They may 
be found in the Appendix. 

The same meeting raised a committee to present the 
" covenant," not to purchase or import any goods from Eng- 
land, Ireland, or the West Indies, for signature, to all who had 
not signed it, in order that they might have the opportunity 
to do so. In such a state of feeling, few could have dared, 
even if they had wished, to decline such an invitation. The 
ban of public opinion wi« too formidable to be encountered 
by men of ordinary courage. I have no reason, however, to 
suppose that the measure did not meet the cordial assent of 
all the people of the town, with the exception of Judge 
Steele. 

On the 6th September, 1774, in pursuance of an invitation 
from a Convention of the Committees of Correspondence of 
the county of Worcester, a body of six thousand men assem- 
bled at Worcester, and so effectually blocked up the access to 
the Court House, that the Inferior Court, then about to assem- 
ble, were unable to open the term, and never afterwards 
resumed their functions. 

The journal of the meetings of this Convention, which was 
published more than twenty years ago, enriched as it was by 
notes of its accomplished editor, the late William Lincoln, 
Esq., added much to the fund of information before possessed 
as to the movements in the county preliminary to the Revolu- 
tion. It first met Aug. 9, 1774. At that time, the Com- 



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HISTORY (W LEIOJiSTER. 289 

mittee of Correspondence of Leicester, who attended, were 
Thomaa Denny, William Henaliaw, Joseph Henshaw, and 
Hev. Benjamin Conklin. William Henshaw was elected the 
clerk of the convention. It was opened by prayer by the 
Rev. Mr. Conklin, who was second to no one in zeal and 
earnestness in the cause for which it had assembled. At its 
meeting on the 30th August, the resolution which called for 
this mass meeting of the people as a body was reported by 
Joseph Henshaw, which was in these words : " In order to 
prevent the execution of the late Act of Parliament respect- 
ing the courts, it be recommended to the inhabitants of this 
county to attend in person the next Inferior Court of Common 
Pleas and General Sessions, to be holden at Worcester, in and 
for said county, on the 6th of September next." As it was 
anticipated that the royal troops would be sent to sustain the 
court, the people were recommended to come properly armed, 
if they should have intelligence of such troops being on 
the march. 

The convention itself met on that day. The people were 
under the command of ofScers of their own election, each 
town being under a separate command, and marched in mili- 
tary array. They were formed into two lines ; and through 
these the justices and officers of the court were compelled to 
march, stopping at brief intervals, and repeating a written 
declaration of their submissioo to the public will. They 
were followed by forty-three royalists belonging to Worcester, 
who had made themselves obnoxious by protesting against 
the revolutionary movements of the patriots, but who now 
read a recantation of their errors. 

The Court of Sessions then consisted of all the justices of 
the peace in the county. A paper was accordingly prepared 
for these to sig-n, addressed to the people of the county, 
assuring them that the court would stay all judicial proceed- 
ings. This paper bears the signature of Judge Steele ; and, 
among other justices, that of Daniel Henshaw ; while a sepa- 



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290 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

rate assurance was signed by Gardner Chandler, the sheriff, 
and Rufus Chandler, John Sprague, and Nathaniel Chandler, 
as attorneys of the court. 

A portion of these justices, among whom was Judge Steele, 
had addressed a congratulatory letter to Gov. Gage on his 
arrival. These were required, in addition to the general 
confession and promise, to make an acknowledgment of their 
fault in writing. The name of Judge Steele stands at the 
head of the paper. 

It is not my purpose to follow the journal of this conven- 
tion, any further than may be necessary to illusti-ate the 
action of this town. At its various meetings, Leicester was 
uniformly represented ; and the records of its proceedings 
show that the representatives of that town held a prominent 
place among their associates. The committees of "Worcester 
and Leicester were made a standing committee for the county, 
to correspond with other Committees of Correspondence ; 
and call a County Congressional Convention, whenever they 
thought proper ; and to them were added Thomas Denny and 
Joseph Henshaw of Leicester, and Joshua Bigelow of Worces- 
ter, Hezekiah Ward and Thomas Newhall had been elected 
members of the committee of Leicester, in the places of Col, 
Denny and Col. Henshaw, since the first meeting of the con- 
vention. The convention, among other things, adopted a 
spirited remonstrance, addressed to Gov, Gage ; and appointed 
Joseph Henshaw, Thomas Denny, and Willard Moore, to pre- 
sent the same. The paper bore the names of Joseph Henshaw, 
chairman ; and William Henshaw, clerk. The date of these 
proceedings was the 21st September, 1774. 

It will be recollected, that, though no open rupture had 
taken place, there had, practically, grown up a separation 
between the Royal Government and the people of the Colony. 
In June, the Governor had dissolved the General Court. 
Early in September, writs for the election of a new House of 
were issued, to meet, on the 5th of October, 



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HISTORY 01.' LjaCESTER. 291 

at Salem ; but, before that day arrived, the order for the elec- 
tion was revoked by proclamation. 

Those who had been chosen representatives, however, wero 
instructed by their respective towns to meet at the appointed 
time and place, and to resolve themselves into a Provin- 
cial Congress, and repair to Concord to hold their meeting. 
This was in accordance with the advice of the Worcester 
Convention. In anticipation of the result, the Convention 
divided the county into seven regiments ; recommended that 
the towns choose their company-officers, and those the field- 
officers ; and that the company-officers of the minute-men 
should meet at Worcester on the 17th October, and propor- 
tion their regiments and choose their field-officers. 

The Convention, in fact, felt themselves called upon to 
exercise many of the functions of government, although it 
could only be done by the way of advice and recommendar 
tion ; and never was public sentiment better united or more 
potent in its action than at this moment in the Colony, 

As an instance of the manner in which it made itself felt, 
I would refer to a convention of blacksmiths, which was held 
at Worcester on the 8th September, 1774; at which Ross 
Wyman of Shrewsbury presided, and Timothy Bigelow, after- 
wards the distinguished colonel of the fifteenth regiment of 
the Massachusetts line in the Continental service, was clerk. 
Seth Washburn of Leicester was among its members. They 
resolved, among other things, that they would not work 
for any whom they esteemed enemies to the country, — viz., 
Tories, councillors by mandamus who had not resigned, and 
those who addressed Gov. Hutchinson on his departure ; 
and specified by name Timothy Ruggles of Hardwick, John 
Murray of E-utland, and James Putnam of Worcester. They 
put under the ban all who had not signed the " non-consiunp- 
tion covenant," and appealed to all classes of artificers to 
form similar associations. 

In the military organization adopted by the County Con- 



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292 HISTORY QV LEICESTER. 

veritiou, oiie-tliird of all tlie men able to do duty, between 
eighteen and sixty, were to be enrolled as " minute-men." 
The first regiment was made up of the towns of Worcester, 
Leicester, Spencer, Holden, and Paxton. 

It would occupy too much space to refer any more, in 
detail, to the proceedings of this County Convention ; though, 
for a considerable time, this and similar conventions in other 
counties practically constituted the governing power of the 
Province. The House of Representatives which the Gover- 
nor had disaolred in June was the last that was assembled 
under the Royal Charter. The power of the Charter Govern- 
ment had come to a stop ; the courts of justice were closed ; 
the Province was without any body to make or expound the 
laws; and the staff of the executive was broken in pieces. 
But such was the force of public sentiment, such the sense 
of right and wrong which pervaded the community, and so 
significant was the judgment which was expressed in their 
public assemblies, that never was there less complaint of 
justice denied, or injustice done between man and man, than 
in this interval of courts and legislation. Leicester voted in 
town-meeting, that, whatever differences might arise in the 
town, they should be settled by such indifferent men as 
the parties should agree upon ; and this recommendation 
was, I believe, uniformly observed. 

The last meeting of the Superior Court in Worcester had 
been in April ; when, in anticipation of Cliief- Justice Oliver 
being present and presiding, the grand jury drew up, and 
fifteen of them signed, a protest against serving in that office 
if the Chief-Justice were to be present. This protest was 
drawn hy William Henshaw, and bore his name and that of 
Moses Livermore of Spencer. The Chief-Justice did not 
attend, and the business of the term was suffered to proceed. 
The term of the court, which was to have met at Salem on 
the 1st November, was adjourned by the sheriff, without the 
judges having corae together at all. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 293 

Pursuant to the original notice from the Governor, this 
town proceeded to elect a representative to sittend the Legis- 
lature at Salem ; but in anticipation of the subsequent course 
pursued by him, and pursuant to the recommendation of the 
County Convention, they instructed him to unite in forming a 
Provincial Congress. The representative chosen was Thomas 
Denny ; and the instructions, which will be ibund in the Ap- 
pendix, were prepared by a committee, consisting of Joseph 
Henshaw, John Brown, Joseph Allen, of Leicester; Deacon 
Muzzy and Dr. Ormes, of Spencer ; and Phinehas and Willard 
Moore, of Paxton. This was on the 29th September. The 
same committee, on the 10th October, prepared new instruc- 
tions to Col. Denny, as a member of the Provincial Congress, 
wliich were then adopted by the town.* 

There had been, however, a meeting of the town on the 
3d of October, at which the inhabitants voted that the 
cannon be mounted on a proper carriage ; and appointed 
Seth Washburn, Benjamin Richardson, and Capt. Newhall, 
to eanae this to be done ; and directed the selectmen to act 
in their prudence respecting persons not furnished with fire- 
arms. 

The Provincial Congress met at Concord on the 11th 
October, and Mr. Denny attended : but he was soon attacked 
with sickness, which compelled him to return home ; where 
he died on the 23d October. 

His death was not only a severe loss to the town, but to 
tlie whole Province. He had won the confidence and respect 
of the leading men of the day, and is spoken of by Hutchin- 
son, in his tliird volume of the " History of Massachusetts," 
in connection with Joseph Hawley, James Warren, and seve- 
ral others, who, he says, " may be considered as most active 
and zealous " of those who, in 1770, were " in the opposition 
to Parliament," 

' They «re also copied in the Appendix. 



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294 HISTORY 01' LEICESTER. 

His place was supplied by the election of Joseph Henshaw 
on the 20th October; to whom the same instructions were 
repeated, with an additional one, that ho should use his 
" influence that Dorchester Point should he immediately 
taken possession of and fortified by this Province." 

Another meeting of the town was held on the 7th Novem- 
ber when it was voted to provide ammunition for the cannon 
belonging to the town, — two and a half barrels of powder 
and four hundred-weight of shot or balls. A committee was 
at the same time raised " to supply those persona with pro- 
visions who might bo called to march from home in defence 
of our rights and privileges." 

In December, the town chose a committee of nine * to 
carry into execution tlie resolves and proceedings of the 
Continental and Provincial Congresses ; in short, to take the 
place of the executive, so far as the town was concerned. 
Eight men were selected to manage and exercise the town's 
cannon ; and a subscription was recommended for the relief of 
the poor in Boston " suiferjng in the common cause," and a 
committee raised to carry this voto into effect. 

This was the last of the eightem meetings which the town 
had held during the year 1774 : but on the 9th January, 
1775, another meeting was held ; when it was voted to raise 
a company of minuto-men in the town, and that a number 
should be draughted for that purpose from the trainbands in 
the town. A committee f was raised to draw up articles for the 
men to sign. 

A company of nearly fifty men was accordingly raised, of 
which Soth Washburn was elected captain ; William Watson 
and Nathaniel Harrod, first and second lieutenants. The 



* Tie awere Joseph Hensliaw.HezeliiaU Ward, Joniil]ianNewhall,Ji>9eph Sargent, 
(fl) n ten Soth Washburn, Samuel Denny, Thomas Newhall, and Samuel 

t Jonathin Newhall, William King, Samuel Denny, Seth Washburn, and Joseph 

a iiv. 

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HISTOKY OF LEICESTKR. 295 

standing company in the town waa under the command of 
Thomas Newhall, with Benjamin Eichardaon and Ebenezer 
Upham, first and second lieutenants. This, it should bo 
remembered, was not altogether a new movement in town. 
They had had, as already stated, a company of volnnteer 
minute-men since 1770; and this new organization was only 
to comply with the recommendation of the Provincial Con- 
gress. 

So intent were tiie members of this volunteer company in 
the necessary preparation for active service, that they hired 
a drill-ofiBcer, who had been in the regular army, to train 
them ; meeting weekly or oftener for drill, and for several 
days before the 19th April, 1775, doing so daily : so that, 
when the alarm reached Leicester of the march of the British 
troops to Lexington, every man was found ready to move, 
literally, at a minute's warning. 

It was not, as some writer has said, that the battle of 
Lexington roused a warlike spirit in the community : it found 
that spirit already roused and organized. The people who, 
upon the alarm of the 19th April, gathered by fifties and by 
hundreds, to more than twelve thousand in all, in Cambridge 
and its vicinity, on the 20th and the few following days in 
April, 1775, were not a mob, nor a mass of men drawn together 
by accident or passion. They rushed to the scene of action 
to do service as soldiers, already organized into companies 
and regiments; and if without the discipline, they were 
witliout the habits and vices, of the camp. 

The anxiety of the town for the restoration of an orderly 
government is elicited by the instructions * which they gave 
to Joseph Henshaw, their delegate to the Provincial Con- 
gress, Jan. 9, 1775 ; and they show in all their proceedings a 
disposition to perserve order. Thus wo find them voting 



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29G IiI«TORY OV LEICESTER. 

-in town-meeting in March, that they would aid and assist 
the sheriff and constables in apprehending and securing any 
riotous or disorderly persons. At the same meeting, they 
voted, that, " as it was probable some interesting events might 
turn up between that time and May meeting, each minute- 
man should be aOowed the sum of six shillings as a bounty 
for his service ; and, if called upon to march, to be allowed 
Province pay." They further voted to procure pouches for 
the use of the company. 

They were right in their conjectures. Interesting events 
did turn tip before May meeting; events, compared with 
which, the history of no nation can present any thing of 
deeper interest, — the opening scene of the American Revo- 
lution. Early in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 19th of 
April, a horseman rode furiously through the little village 
of the Leicester of that day ; and stopping for a moment in 
front of the blacksmith -shop of the captain of the minute- 
company, a little west of the present house of Mr. John 
Loring, announced, in a hurried voice, that " the war had 
begun, the regulars were marching to Concord!" and rode on 
to carry the alarm to the towns lying west of Leicester. He 
stopped for no explanation ; nor was any needed. Who he 
was, or by what authority he came, no one inquired, nor can 
I find that it was ever known. 

The captain threw down the ploughshare upon which he 
was at work ; seized his musket, which stood by him, ready 
loaded for the purpose (for there was no bell in town with 
which to ring an alarm), and, rushing into the street, dis- 
charged it. The signal was understood ; and, without waiting 
for further orders, the appointed messengers were at once on 
their way to arouse the men of the company. These were 
scattered in the various parts of the town, — many of them 
three or four miles from the place of their parade, and 
engaged upon their farms ; but, before four o'clock, every 
man of that company was on the Common, by the Meeting- 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 297 

house, ready to answer to the roll-call. Some of them had 
literally left their ploughs in the furrow. Not one of them 
had a uniform. They hastily changed their working-dresses 
for a moro fitting garb; seized their fire-locks, — most of 
them of that kind known as the " Queen's arms," from having 
come down to them from the wars of Queen Anne's time,- — ■ 
with their powder-horns and bullet-pouches ; and, on foot or 
on horseback, mside their way in the shortest and nearest 
routes, and across the fields, where, by so doing, they could 
sooner reach the point of rendezvous ; and were mustered, 
and actually on their march, some time before sunset. 

But there were others besides soldiers gathered, that after- 
noon, on that little muster-ground. There were groups of 
spectators, who shared in the excitement of the scene, and 
witnessed this hurried preparation with apprehension and 
alarm. There were the fathers and mothers, and in many 
instances the wives, of this little band ; bringing with them 
such few necessaries as they were able to supply for the 
night-march that was before them, and the battle-field or 
the camp to which they were hastening. 

In that solemn moment, the most thoughtless grew serious ; 
and when the clergyman of the parish (the Eev. Mr, Conklin), 
while the men rested upon their muskets, lifted up his voice 
in prayer for their protection and safe return, every head 
was uncovered and every murmur hushed, and every heart 
gathered new strength to meet whatever emergency awaited 
this little band. 

I have heard this scene, as well as many of the little 
incidents connected with it, described in simple terms by 
more than one eye-witness. The mother of the commander 
of the company, then an aged woman, had come with others 
to witness their departure. With deep emotion, which she 
struggled to suppress, she came near her son as he was 
giving the word to march, to bid him God's speed ; when, 
turning to her, with a cheerful voice he said, " Mother, you 



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298 insTORY or LEiri:sTi':R. 

pray for me, and I will fight for you ; " and, at the " Forward " 
which followed, the march was begun. 

Among the spectators on that occasion was Dr. Honey- 
wood, who is mentioned in another part of this work. He 
had been bom and educated in England, and had never 
believed that the colonists would dare to push measures to 
an actual outbreak with the mother- country; but when he 
saw the alacrity with which that company had come together, 
and the readiness and coolness with which they took up 
their Hne of march, on that occasion, his convictions were 
changed. Addressing those around him, he exclaimed, " Such 
men as these will fight ; and, what is more, by G — 1 they 
won't be beat." 

It was about an hour and a half before sundown when the 
company began their march. The group of spectators stood 
gazing upon them till the last platoon had disappeared below 
the hi!i on which the village is built; and, when the sound 
of the drum had died away in the distance, they dispersed to 
their several homes. " But I need not tell you," said an eye- 
witness to me, " that that night was a solemn one to the 
people of Leicester. Soon after Capt. Washburn's company 
had left, they were followed by the standing company of the 
town, under Capt. Newhall. Soon after dark, we heard the 
Spencer Company pass ; and, before morning, the company 
from Brookfield followed them. Lights shone from the win- 
dows along the highway, and not an eye was closed that 
night in the village." 

In this company of minute-men was a son of Nathan 
Sargent, who lived near the line of Worcester, where Mr, 
SewaU Sargent now lives. As the company came up, they 
halted in front of his house. Mr. Sargent came out to greet 
them, and inquired of the captain if they were supplied with 
ammunition. On hearing that there was a deficiency in bul- 
lets, he went back into his house, took from his clock the 
leaden weights that carried it, and, melting them down, cast 



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HISTORY OF LEICKSTER. 299 

them into bullets, wliich tie brought out, and distributed to 
the men. 

Soon after sundown, the company reached Worcester; where 
they were joined by other companies, and continued a rapid 
march till near morning ; when, having heard that the regulars 
had retreated into Boston, they halted at Marlborough. The 
next day, they moved forward to Watertown ; and, the day 
following, to Cambridge. Between Worcester and Marlbo- 
rough they found lights burning in every window by the 
wayside, and were greeted on their way by groups of people 
who were gathered to witness so novel and exciting a spec- 
tacle.* 

Eighty men marched on that occasion from this town ; while 
Cot. William Henshaw, Lieut.-CoI. Samuel Denny, Lieut.-Col. 
Joseph Henshaw, and Adjutant John Southgate, from the 
same town, were early on their way to the scene of action to 
take charge of their respective regiments.f 

The rolls and periods of service of these men, as well as 
of those who enlisted and held othce in what was called the 
" eight-months' service," may be found in another part of this 
work. 

The company which Capt. Washburn enlisted for the eight- 
months' service consisted of fifty-nine men, chiefly from 
Leicester, from his own and Capt. Newhall's companies. The 
remainder of these men, after a service varying from thirteen 
to twenty-six days, were discharged, and returned home. 
This company was attached to the regiment of which Artemas 
Ward was colonel ; Jonathan Ward, lieutenant-colonel ; Ed- 
ward Barnes, major ; and Timothy Bigelow, second major. 

* Many of the details of this day I have darived, ns I have elsewhere stnted, fi'om 
the personal imrratWe of Hie late Natbnn Cmige, Esq., B'lio was a member of Capt. 
Wnshbnra's company; some from a daughter of Capt. W.ishbum, who mis present 
whan the company was mustered; and some from the lata John Sargsnt, a son of 
Nathan Sargent, who was present when they halted hi front of his father's lionse. 

t Spenoer seat flttj-six man, under Capt. Mason; and Foxton, thirty-fonr, under 
Capt. PhinehaB Moore. 



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300 HISTORY OF : 



s Ward was aooii made the commander-iu-eliief of 
the forces, Lieut.-Col. Ward waa promoted to the command of 
it ; though it waa still called Gen. Ward's regiment. Jonathan 
Ward belonged to Southborough ; so did Major Barnes : Major 
Eigelow, to Worcester. 

One or two facts should be mentioned in the history of the 
town, before noting the part which its soldiers took in the 
events subsequent to the new organization of the troops. 

In May, 1775, Col. Joseph Henshaw was appointed by 
the Provincial Congress to repair to Connecticut, and consult 
with the Government of that Colony upon what measures 
should be adopted in order to maintain possession of Port 
Ticonderoga, which had just before that capitulated to Ethan 
Allen, in obedience to his demand, " in the name of Jehovah 
and the Continental Congress." 

Oliver Watson was chosen to represent Leicester and 
in the Provincial Congress, in the place of Mr. 
He belonged to Spencer; having, some years 
before, removed there from Leicester. 

In the same month of May, the Congress had undertaken 
to relieve the poor of the town of Boston by assigning them 
to the towns m numbers proportioned to their ability to aid 
them. Five hundred and thirty-nine were assigned to the 
county of Worcester : of whom Leicester was required to 
relieve thirty-six ; Spencer, thirty-one ; and Paxton, twenty. 

At this time, also, an estimate was made, and returned to 
the Congress, of the quantity of powder, belonging to the 
several towns, which could be spared by them for the public 
service ; and it was found to amount only to the paltry sum 
of sixty-seven and three-quarter barrels. Only forty towns 
in the State could furnish any. Of these, Leicester was to 
furnish one barrel ; Worcester, one ; and Lancaster, one. 
The whole Province stock of powder, in 1774, was but 
seventeen thousand four hundred and forty-four pounds; 
that of all the towns, three hundred and fifty-seven barrels. 



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HISTORY OX^ LEICESTER. 301 

The idea, at tliia day, of commencing a war with such an 
inconsiderable amount of an article as essential as gunpowder 
would be thought worse than absurd. Nor was there any 
means at hand to supply more. There was not a powder- 
mill in the Province ; nor had they saltpetre in quantity to 
manufacture powder, if there Lad been. While upon this 
subject, I may anticipate by saying, that on the 13th Feb- 
ruary, 1776, the Legislature offered a bounty of ^50 to the 
person who should erect the first powder-mill in the Pro- 
vince, capable of manufacturing fifty pounds per day ; and 
should actually manufacture a thousand pounds, if erected 
within six months from that time.* They had, a i&w days 
before, offered a premium of nineponce per pound for manu- 
facturing saltpetre, from mines or ores, in this Colony ; and 
it was amongst the saddest circumstances in the battle of 
Bunker Hill, that the field was finally lost more from the 
want of ammunition than from the superiority in numbers 
or prowess of arms, in the enemy. 

To return to our narrative. On the 15th June, Congress 
recommended that the several towns should deposit, for the 
use of the Province, such fire-arms as, it was estimated, they 
could spare ; which amounted in all t« a thousand and sixty- 
five.f Of these, Worcester County was to supply five hun- 
dred and fourteen; and the proportion of Leicester was 
twelve; Spencer, ten; and Paxton, six. 

As we approach the events of tho 17th June, it seems 
proper to speak of these by themselves. The reader may 
find, in the full aud accurate " History of the Siege of Bos- 
ton " by Mr. Prothingham, an interesting account of the con- 
dition of the army, and the disposition of the forces, while 
carrying on the siege which had been commenced almost 

• This was to be sKelUBive of tl,e mill ,,t StoueUton and one at Aii<tOY«r which 
WBra then m process of erection by occier of the Frovinoe. 

f The wMo number of flre-ai-ms In the Province in 1774, including Maino was 
twenty-one thousand tlve hundred and forty-nine. 



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302 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

immediately after the aifair at Lexington. I shall speak of 
these only so far as persons from Leicester were connected 
with those events. There has been a great deal said and 
-written and felt upon the question, " Who commanded at 
Bunker Hill ? " If by it is meant, " Who directed the ope- 
rations upon the hill on the night of the 16th? and whose 
orders, from his position during the battle and from being 
known and recognized as the leader of the enterprise, were 
obeyed, so far as they coiild be communicated ? " Prescott 
must undoubtedly be considered as the commander on that 
occasion. But if the inquiry embraces, " Who planned the 
enterprise? who detailed and directed particular troops to 
take particular posts and perform particular duties while upon 
the field ? " it would be a much more difficult question to 
answer.* 

The truth seems to be, that, whatever was the original 
plan as a whole, in many of its parts there were material 
departures from that, by design or by accident ; and, when it 
was apparent that the enemy would attack them, most of the 
principal officers — among whom no one was more active or 
prominent than Putnam — entered into the fight with little 
order or system, but with a spirit and zeal which supplied 
the necessity of special directions from any superior officer. 
Each corps, as it came into the field, took up its position, and 
maintained it till the general retreat. 

In May, Col. William Henshaw, Col. Gridley, and Mr. 
Richard Devens, examined the heights of land in Charles- 
town and Cambridge, with a view to their occupation. This 
was done at the request of Gen. Ward. On the 12th of May, 
a report was made to the Committee of Safety, who seem to 



• The Judgment of the oourt-mnrtial who tried Mnjor Scnrborough Gi'iiiley, of tlie 
artaiery, foi' defect of duty on the ITth June, found him guilty, and dismissed him fiw 
the service! "but on account of hia inexperience and yoath, and the greaC coafadon 
tuftscft ntlenJed that day's tneasacliom in general,'' they did not told him disqualified to 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 303 

have had, in connection with the Council of War, the general 
direction as to the operations of the army. It was signed by 
Dr. Church, Chairman of the Subcommittee from the Com- 
mittee of Safety, and William Henshaw, Chairman of the Sub- 
committee from the Council of War ; and related to erecting 
military works upon Prospect, Winter, and Bunker Hills, and 
intermediate points. But it is not necessary to transcribe it 
here, as the position occupied by the intrenchments on the 
16th June was nearer to the point where the enemy landed 
than Bunker Hill Proper would have been. 

Gen. Ward, as commander-in-chief, was stationed at Cam- 
bridge, and gave directions what regiments should march to 
Charlestown on the occasion of occupying the hill, and, the 
next day, to help to maintain it, A part, at least, of his own 
regiment, under Lieut.-Coh Ward, was stationed at what was 
called Port No. 2, which is said to have been upon what is 
now known as Dana Hill. It was here that Capt. Washburn's 
company were stationed. Though the enemy landed about 
one o'clock, it was past three o'clock in the afternoon, accord- 
ing to the account given by Mr. Prothingham, before the 
battle actually commenced. He speaks of a part of Lieut- 
Col. Ward's regiment arriving at a critical time of the battle, 
and of the part taken by Capt. Washburn's company, with 
other companies mentioned, in maintaining the position of the 
American troops at the rail-fence, and " gallantly covering 
the retreat." 

The British finally took possession of the hill about five 
o'clock, so that the heat of the action must have lasted about 
two hours. 

With this preliminary statement, drawn from other sources, 
1 propose to give a detailed account, as near as I have been 
able to gather it from those who took part in them, of the 
movements of the Leicester men on that day. I am chiefly 
indebted for my facta to Mr. Nathan Craige, a member of the 
company, given many years since, when a clear and unim- 



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304 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

paired memory and a character for honesty and integrity 
which was never impeached, gave to his statement the force 
of truth. Nor will it be found to conflict with any well- 
authenticated account of the details of the hattle. 

It seems that, between one and two o'clock, a re-enforce- 
ment had arrived from Boston to join the troops which had 
previously landed at Moulton's Point. This, according to a 
statement in Ward's " History of Shrewsbury," — the connec- 
tion of whose author with Gen. Ward gave him an oppor- 
tunity to understand something of the motives of his move- 
ments, — so far satisfied the general that the enemy would not 
attempt to land, and attack his position in Cambridge, that he 
ordered Lieut.-Col, Ward to march his regiment with the 
utmost despatch by the way of Lechmere Point to Charles- 
town, keeping a strict look-out towards Boston in its march. 
The regiment, according to Mr. Craige's recollection, were 
paraded under arms, ready for marching, soon after noon. 
On reaching Lechmere Point, they halted for near an hour. 
The reason for this delay he never understood. While here, 
they heard the " cracking of the musketry over in Charles- 
town," as well as the roar of the cannon. They wore then 
ordered to march for Oharlestown Neck, in order to reach the 
scene of the hattle, which had already begun. Before they 
aiTived at the Neck, tliey were met by a man on horseback 
(said to be Dr. Church), who told the commander to halt his 
men ; that orders had been sent, that no more troops should 
go into the action.* Major Barnes, who was then in com- 
mand, gave the order to halt. Whereupon Capt. Washburn, 
stepping out of the column, addressing his men, exclaimed in 
a loud voice, " Those are Tory orders : I shan't obey them. 
Who will follow me ? " Every man of his company at once 
left the column, and passed on towards the hill. Capt. Wood 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



805 



of NorthbovoTigh, with his company, and, as appears by Mr. 
Frothingham'a narrative, Capt. Gushing also, left the regi- 
ment, and came into the action about the same time that 
Capt. Washburn did. 

When the company reached the Neck, the shot from the 
British frigate were sweeping across it ; and the captain, 
halting his men, addressed a few words to them; told them 
that they saw the danger before them ; that if any of them 
wished to avoid it, or was afraid to go forward, they might 
then go back. No one left the ranks ; and, after a moment's 
pause, the captain said cheerfully, "Then we'll all go to- 
gether." The whole company started upon a fidl run 
across the Neck, to avoid the balls from the frigate as well 
as they could. As they ascended the hiU, they saw the 
houses in Charlestown on fire, and met numbers bringing 
off the wounded from the field. Near the summit of the hill 
they saw an American officer swinging his sword, and beckon- 
ing them to come in that direction ; which they obeyed. The 
men, at this time, had about fifteen rounds of cartridges each. 
As they came in sight of the British troops, and were moving 
steadily on towards the breastwork below the redoubt, a ball 
struck the cartouch-box of the captain, — for he was, like his 
men, armed with a musket ; and he, supposing the shot had 
come from one of his own men, coolly turned round, and said, 
he believed one of them had hit him, and cautioned them to 
be careful, and not shoot our own men. After the battle, 
however, he found the ball lodged in his cartouch-box ; and 
itB direction showed that it was received from the enemy. 

The company rushed foi-ward as soon as they had sur- 
mounted the bill, and took their station at the rail-fence, and 
began firing as fast as they could. The enemy, by this time, 
had mounted the redoubt; and, in about twenty or thirty 
minutes after the company had entered the action, the order 
was given to retreat. This they did, at first, slowly and in 
regular order; keeping together, and doing what they could 



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306 HISTORY OF LEICKSTER. 

to cover the retreat : but when they saw that the enemy 
were gaining upon them, and threatening to cut them off on 
the flank, the company broke, and hurried down the hill. 

But, in this retreat, they showed nothing like panic. Ser- 
geant Brown received a shot in his thigh, and another in his 
foot, which disabled him from walking. The captain, who 
was the last to leave the ground, finding him in this condi- 
tion, and being an athletic though not a large man, took the 
wounded man under one arm, and his muaket (with his own) 
in the other, and carried him till he waa out of immediate 
danger. He there left him, and hurried on till he overtook 
Brown's brother Perley and Jonathan Sargent (another of the 
company), and sent them back for the wounded man ; whom 
they brought off in safety.* Daniel Hubbard wore a cue, 
braided in two strands, which hung down his back. As he 
passed by, Mr. Oraige saw him dodge his head ; and it was 
afterwards found that a musket-ball had cut off one of these 
strands so cloae to his head as to graze the skin. Kerley 
Ward of Oakham, one of the corporals of the company, waa 
wounded in the arm; and Sergeant Grossman, in the leg. 
Abner Livormore had the cord of his canteen cut off by a 
musket-ball while retreating ; and, as it fell, it rolled a con- 
siderable distance towards the enemy, who were firing and 
pressing upon the left flank of the company. His brother 
Isaac, seeing the disf^ter, and knowing what the canteen 
contained, stopped, with the exclamation, " It will never do to 
lose that rum ! " and, running after the canteen, picked it up, 
and brought it off the field, in the face of the fire from the 
British. Samuel Sargent, another of the company, was less 
fortunate in saving his liquor. While stopping to prime his 
gun, a musket-ball struck his canteen, and, passing through 
one end of it, lodged in the other, which rested upon his hip. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 307 

He lost the contenta, but saved the ball ; and it was, for many 
years, preserved in the femily as a trophy. The captain wore 
a wig, and had on, that day, a camlet frock-coat. Ho found, 
after the battle, that, besides the one through his cartouch- 
box, four balls had passed through his coat, and one through 
his wig; though he was himself wholly unharmed. The bait 
that lodged in his cartouch-bos he brought home ai'ter his 
tour of duty was over. 

It is by personal anecdotes that the true character of a 
battle may be understood, much more than by the statistics 
of killed and wounded. The published accounts of the day 
tell us of the dreadful sufferings of the gallant Major Moore 
of Paxton (who fell mortally wounded in the early part of 
the action) from an agony of thirst, without a drop of water 
to relieve it, as he lay bleeding and dying beneath the hot 
sun of that bright June afternoon. An incident occurred in 
the retreat of the Leicester men, illustrative of what occurred 
in the battle. As Mr. Craige was passing a house near the 
Neck, which the fire had not reached, the lieutenant called 
to him that there was a soldier lying in the house, wounded 
and bloody, and unable to speak ; and added, " We must take 
him with us, or he will be burnt up ! " Four of the men, 
accordingly, placing him in a blanket, carried him nearly half 
a mile ; when, overtaking some Connecticut troops, they found 
he was the sergeant of their company, and they took charge 
of him. 

Instead of returning with his company to Cambridge after 
the battle, Capt. Washburn, with three other captains and 
eighteen men, undertook a voluntary patrol, during the even- 
ing and night, between Cambridge and the Neck, in order to 
protect the property in the houses which had been abandoned, 
and save it from being burned. Three of these houses were, 
in fact, set on fire the next morning, and destroyed. 

Besides those in Capt. Washburn's company, there were 
others, who previously had been, or afterwards were, citizens 



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308 itiSTOiiy or Leicester. 

of Leicester, and took part in the battle of the 17th June. 
Among them was John Holden of Col. Doolittle's regiment, 
which went into the action under the command of Major 
Moore. lie was afterwards a heutenant, and, before the close 
of the war, was promoted to a captaincy, in the Continental 
service. Bbenezer Washburn, a brother of Capt. Washburn, 
who had removed to Hardwick, was quartermaster in Col. 
Brewer's regiment ; and Seth, the oldest son of the captain, 
who had removed to Wilbraham, and Caleb Barton, then of 
Oxford, were also in the battle.* 

There was one other, whom I have noticed elsewhere, who 
was in that fight, — Peter Salem, a black man, belonging to 
Col. John Nixon's regiment. All the accounts of the battle 
speak of the gallant conduct of Major Pitcairn, of the British 
marines, on that occasion. He was shot down sis he mounted 
the redoubt, crying out exultingly, " The day is ours ! " and 
fell into the arms of his son, who tenderly bore him ofi' the 
field to a boat, and thence to a house in Prince Street, Boston, 
where he died. That shot was, undoubtedly, fired by Peter ; 
and the death of Major Pitcairn, with its accompanying cir- 
cumstances, formed one of the most touching incidents of 
that eventful day. 

It may seem to some that I am devoting too much space to 
the incidents of a single battle ; but my object has been, not 
merely to do justice to the physical courage and endurance 
of those of whom I am speaking, as soldiers, but to their 
higher qualities as men and as citizens. Many of the com- 
pany were young men, some not seventeen years of age ; and 
quite a number between that age and twenty-one. The com- 
mander was at the mature age of fifty-two ; a serious, reli- 

* I would notice another fiict indirectly ooniieoted with tiie history of the town, 
and illustrating the history of ths times. Israel Green, whose sister married Hezcltiiiii 
Ward, was a native of Leicester. Hb married, and had three children bom in Leices- 
ter. Before the war, he remoTed to Hubhardston. He had three sons in the battle 
of Bnnlter Hill, Ona was killed; and one received a wound, of which he died. The 
third subsequently fell in tho battle of Monmontli. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 309 

gious man, known personally to all Iiis men, to whom ho 
stood in a relation more parental than authoritative : and 
their conduct in camp as well as in action showed that the 
confidence of the parents of these young men in their com- 
mander, in allowing them to enlist at so early an age, was not 
misplaced. 

AH the forenoon of the 17th, the troops in and around Cam- 
bridge were in a state of intense excitement. The incessant 
boom of the cannon from Copp's Hill and the British frigates 
in the stream, the mustering of the various companies and 
regiments, the occasional roU of drums, the hurried move- 
ments of adjutants on horseback, the still more stirring sound 
of the alarm-bells in Cambridge, and the beat to arms and 
hurried march of troops towards Charlestown as soon as it 
was known that the British had landed, presented altogether a 
scene calculated to agitate and alarm any one, unaccustomed 
to war, who was momentarily expecting orders to move for- 
ward to take part in the action, which it was now known 
must take place. 

It was amidst surrounding circumstances like these, that 
Capt. Washburn, a few moments before orders came for his 
regiment to form, called his men together, and spoke to them 
of the action in which they were about to engage, and what 
would be expected of them ; and closed by offering up a fer- 
vent prayer for their safety and protection, and the success 
of the cause in which they were enlisted. Every thing was 
done coolly and calmly ; and some of them often spoke, in 
their old age, of the unfaltering confidence with which, after 
this, they went through the experiences of the day. 

Several of these soldiers were personally known to many 
of the present generation as among the substantial and re- 
spectable citizens of the tdwn. Six of them were alive in 
1826,* fifty-one years after the battle ; and Nathan Craige, 



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310 HISTOKY OF LEICESTER. 

the last survivor, died April 2, 1852, wanting bnt s 

days of aeventy-seveu years from the time he marched at the 

Lexington alarm.* 

In resuming the narrative of what may be more properly 
considered the general history of the town, I may still bo 
obliged to refer with some minuteness to subsequent events 
of the Revolution. To do justice to the part which the town 
took in furnishing men and material for the war would re- 
quire a much greater accuracy of detail than, unfortunately, 
can now be obtained. So far as I have been able to ascertain 
the names of these men, I have given them elsewhere ; though 
I am well aware that the list is far from complete, I must 
content myself with referring to these. 

After his service at Roxbury and Dorchester, which ex- 
pired in the spring of 1776, Oapt. Washburn withdrew from 
the army, but continued in various posts of duty in public 
life, through the war. I refer to his name in this connection, 
to explain one or two things which might not be readily 
understood otherwise. Leicester seems to have been made a 
place of deposit of more or less of the public stores; which I 
cannot readily account for, unless it was that the weU-known 
unanimity of sentiment of the town, as well as the prominent 
part which some of its citizens had taken, indicated it as a 
safe and secure place. 

Thus, as early as Feb. 21, 1775, the Committee of Safety 
and Supplies of the Provincial Congress voted unanimously. 



nrprised, now that tha consaquences of the stand inada by tha colorisls 

a B k Hill have bseoine a matter of familiar histoiy, to see how Utile ita true 
mp was appreciated at the time. I have before me the orderly-booli of Col. 

H aw ntaining the orders of Gen. Ward at that time. No order is promulgated 
h June, except tlia neual parol and oountersigo, and an order to Gen. Thomas 

d w cannon to Cambridge, On the 18th, there is no epecial order; and the 2l5t 
Is the first time the battle is allnded to, requiring the officers to make returns of nnm- 
bers fit for duty, " absent on IVidough, deserted, sick, killed, and wounded, in the late 
enffagement, and missing upon account thereof." On the 24th is an order tendering 
the thanks of the general to the offioers, soldiers, &o., " who behaved so gailBintly at the 
late action in Gharlestown." 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTEK. 311 

that the powder which was then at Concord should be removed 
to Leicester; and, on the 24th, voted that eight field-pieces, 
with the shot and cartridges, and two brass mortars, with 
their bombs, be deposited at Leicester with Col. Henshaw* 

On the :4th April, thej voted that the cannon-powder at 
Leicester should be removed to Concord, one load at a time, 
and made into cartridges. On the 17th, this vote was re- 
considered, and all the ammunition was voted to be deposited 
in nine different towns, of which Leicester was one. " Tlie 
eleven hundred tents " were Toted to be deposited in equal 
quantities in seven different towns, of which Leicester was 
one. 

In May, 1776, the House chose depnty-commissiouBrs for 
the several brigades into which the militia bad been divided ; 
and Joseph Allen, Esq, then of Leicester, was elected for 
the Worcester Brigade. How early the office of muster- 
master was created, I am unable to Bi; but on the 28th 



a oopy of a lettev from Josef 
CoNOOBD. 26!Ii Maroh. 1775. 



B.A. Bn„,_Th. b„„,l„„„t,i,i L-ins ,Ix o, .„„ hog.ho.j., „„ „, , 
™id hav. ,0. p.l II, J..., bar., m „„ a,, „„ ,i.„ .„ „, „, tap „,„ , 
.t tt. .»,; two olh„, would h.„ ro. ort., to Majo, n,„„rt to bo d.po.li.a ,» 
to h '.iT " "'""'«''''"''"'•"■''»'""" !'''"»"l'>"o0.pl.B.ri,ualO™,„', 
JM h II to ba by him taken the same citre of. 

1, hT ^"^ '»"'^"'" *« '"*«'■ with th« g,^ato,t »«creoy. and lu a way the least 
libl to picioa. Yon will take earethst no c»ndle goes near the cask and eJZ 
th those to whom the others si-e sent. Be carefnl aJso to ejijoin the sti-iot^t 

y them respectively. 

Wl I Bturn home, shall take further ordei' oonoemine the same- and am vr,,,,. 
ffacti t bcother, ' ■' 

3o&. Henshaw. 

W Id 1 ave you, aftar you have lodged your (wo hogsheads, proceed with the 
.L .u" !' ""^^^"^^-^ ""<'' -"^o^ yo" set to Mr. Allen's shop, press him to pro- 
^dvnth e team down the Soath Road to Capt.G,*en'e. At^r givinp, Mr Xt 

h Ji-?TrZ''"T"-:; y, ""^^ *" ""''" '''""^■'' "^ '"« ™? •" Th'-^^' New- 

nail s, ir that road wil do to iro w th the teams As nonn oa fi.^ t. j ... , 

N.,b.ir. ,. d,..b.„^ or », Z. b.„t."~;e.^to" lT..7.°io.TZ i.r> 



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312 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

December, 1776, Capt. Thomas Newhall of Leicester was 
appointed, by the General Court, muater-master for the coun- 
ty of Worcester. It seems to have been an important and 
responsible office. He judged of the fitness of the men who 
were enlisted or draughted for service ; took care that they 
should be forwarded into sei-vice ; in case of desertion, took 
measures to arrest the offender; and when, as at last grew to 
be not an unfrecLuent case, any controversy arose between 
different towns as to which might claim a soldier as having 
been furnished by such town, the muster-master determined 
the question. How long Capt. Newhall held the office, I 
cannot tell: but I find Capt. Washburn commissioned and 
acting as such in February, 1778; and believe he held the 
office till the close of the war.* 

In February, 1777, the General Conrt seems to have adopted 
the course of having stores of boots, shoes, blankets, &c., col- 
lected for the use of the army, and deposited in the several 
counties, under the charge of military storekeepers, to be 
held subject to the orders of the Board of War. By a resolve 
of the date of Feb. 7, 1777, the several towns were required 
to furnish as many pairs of boots and stockings and shirts as 
were equal to one-seventh of the males in the town of sixteen 
years of age or upwards. Seth Washburn was chosen such 
storekeeper for the county of Worcester, and was furnished 
with X300 for the purpose. 

In April, 1778, the General Court elected superintendents 
of counties, to receive and send forward the men whom they 
at that time resolved to raise in order to fill the fifteen bat- 
talions of the Continental troops which Massachusetts was 
to supply ; and in June of the next year, and November of 



• I copy the form nfoiie of his certifloatas in that office; viz.: " Leicester, .My 24, 
1T80. This may certify whom it may ooncBra, that on the 23d day of Fehruury, 
17T8, Cain Bomnan, a negro man, appanred, and passed muster: presented as a free 
man, 08 it was oontmrv to my orders to miister any slayeB. Said Bowman whs mus- 
tered in Col. MttfElmil's regiment, Capt. King's oompaiiy. Eeceived £20 bonntj." 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. ,313 

1780, similar officers were appointed. In each of those in- 
stances, Seth Washburn was chosen for the county of Worces- 
ter, These votes are noticed as explanatory of some of the 
orders which appear upon the minutes of the Board of War. 
In August, 1777, I find a memorandum of that body, that 
" there were at Seth Washburn'a store, at Leicester, a hun- 
dred and ninety-one shirts, a hundred and thirty-nine pairs 
shoea, six hundred and sixteen pairs hose. " See his return 
for the 5th inst." 

On the 30th September of the same year, an order is made, 
"that Seth Washburn deliver Deacon Davis, or order, four 
hundred and seventy-two pairs shoes he has collected for 
the use of the State;" and again, on Feb. 5, 1778, it was 
" ordered that Capt. Seth Washburn, of Leicester, deliver 
.. Otis and Andrews five hundred and ninety-two pairs 



If we attempt to estimate the share which Leicester bore 
in the sacrifices and expenses occasioned by the war, it must, 
at best, be but an approximation. To a considerable extent, 
we can trace the number of specific articles paid into the 
public store ; but this does not include the oJothing and provi- 
sions furnished by the towns to the soldiers directly, and to 
their families in their absence. And, when we come to the 
matter of levies and contributions of money, we lack for a 
safe and proper measure of value, in consequence of the 
rapid depreciation of Continental money down to total worth- 
lessness. It will be my object to refer to the several votes 
upon the subject, and then to endeavor to furnish as near a 
standard of admeasurement of value as I can command, by 
which to estimate the surprising amount of taxation which 
the town, somehow, sustained while the war was in pro- 
gress. 

Among the votes which I have noticed upon the Journal of 
the General Court, bearing upon this subjoct, are the follow- 
ing:— 



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314 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

Jan. 5, 1776. — To collect four thousand blankets, to be 
contribtited by the towns ; the share of Leicester being four- 
teen. 

Jan. 19, 1776. — To raise four thousand three hundred and 
sixty-eight men for the army, to maintain the fortifications at 
Cambridge and Eoxbury, to serve till April 1 : Leicester was 
assigned thirteen, and actually furnished sixteen, besides the 
commander of the company- 
June 25,1776. — To raise five thousand troops to co-operate 
with the Continental army in Canada and New York; two 
battalions from certain towns in Worcester to go to New 
York : twenty-five assigned to Leicester, 

July 10, 1776. — To raise every twenty-fifth man to re- 
enforce the Northern Army. 

Sept. 10. — To raise one-fifth of the entire militia not in 
actual service, to march to " Horse Neck " to re-enforce the 
army in New York. 

Jan. 20, 1777. — To procure five thousand blaukets, to be 
furnished by the towns : Leicester, fourteen. 

Jan. 6, 1777. — To raise every seventh man above the age 
of sixteen, to complete the quota of the Continental Army. 

Aug. 9. — To draught every sixth man in Suffolk, Essex, 
Middlesex, York, "Worcester, and Berkshire, to join the army, 
in consequence of the taking of Ticonderoga ; to serve till the 
last of November, unless sooner discharged. 

April 20, 1778. — To fill up the fifteen battalions of Con- 
tinental troops: Leicester to furnish six. 

June 8, 1779. — To raise two thousand men on the Conti- 
nental establishment: Leicester to furnish six. 

June 21, 1779. — That the towns furnish shirts, shoes, and 
stockings for the army, equal in number to one-sixth of the 
male inhabitants : Leicester to supply thirty pairs of each. 
Seth Washburn to receive them for the county. 

May 4, 1780.^ To furnish shoes and stockings and shirts 
equal to one-tenth of the male inhabitants, and half as many 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 315 

: Leicester, twenty-one shirts, &c., and eleven blan- 
keta. 

Sept. 25, 1780. — To supply beef for the army: Leicester, 
four thousand five hundred and sixty pounds. 

Dec. 2, 1780. — To raise four thousand two hundred and 
forty men to supply the defect in the State's quota of the 
Continental force : Leicester, eleven men. 

Dec. 4.-— To supply the army with provisions: Leicester, 
eight thousand seven hundred and sixty-one pounds beef 

Jan. 22, 1781. — To supply the army with provisions : 
Leicester, three thousand six hundred and twenty-four pounds 
of beef; sixteen shirts, pairs stockings, and shoes ; and eight 
blankets. 

June 30, 1781. — To raise two thousand seven hundred 
men, for three months, to re-enforce the Continental Army : 
Leicester, nine men. 

March 7, 1782. — To raise fifteen hundred men to re-enforce 
the army, for three years : Leicester, four. 

I have given the foregoing votes partly as independent 
facts of interest, and partly as a proximate mode of compari- 
son by which to judge of the relative proportions of the 
public burdens borne by the town. It is, however, by no 
means a reliable one ; for these draughts do not seem to have 
been regulated by any fixed proportion. In one case, for 
instance, where Worcester furnished ten men, Leicester did 
six. In another, Worcester, twenty-nine ; Leicester, eleven. 
In another, Worcester, twenty-three; Leicester, nine. In 
another, Worcester, nine; and Leicester, four. When we 
come to examine the votes of the town, we are able to form a 
more positive judgment in the matter. 

In the first place, I have before me the certified returns of 
twenty-seven draughts of men between May, 1775, and June 
28, 1780; amounting to two hundred and twenty-seven men 
in all, — more than twice as many as were borne on the 
entire muster-roll of the train-band in the town as fit for 



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316 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

active duty ; together with the sums paid by the town for 
bounties upon their enlistment. It does not include the com- 
panies which marched at the Lexington alarm, nor the draughts 
made after the 28th of June, 1780 ; of which there were 
several, either paid for by the town, or by the classes into 
which its inhabitants were divided.* In one of those (July 
19, 1781) the town paid seven men twenty pounds each in 
silver money, with a right to receive thoir wages for the 
three months for which they enlisted. 

I have copied into the Appendix the interesting document 
to which I have above alluded, as a matter of curious refer- 
ence ; and would venture to commend it, with the other papers 
found there, as worthy the attention of the reader. 

So numerous and heavy were the draughts for men, that 
the traditions may easily be credited which have come down 
to us, that the labor in the fields was in many cases per- 
formed by women, because every male member of the family 
was absent. It is a matter of record on the pai't of the 
town, that, in 1776, they had to choose two new selectmen 
because the others were absent in the army ; and in January, 
1778, they were obliged to choose a new assessor for the 
same reason. 

In 1780, if not earlier, the custom began of dividing 
the towns into classes, each of which, when called on, was 
required to supply a man, by enlistment, from their number, 
or by hiring a substitute ; which partially withheld from the 
town as immediate action upon the subject as they had before 
been accustomed to take. 

In respect to the direct appropriations by the town for the 
purposes of the war, I find that, in April, 1776, the town 
voted to procure ammunition, intrenching tools, &a., agree- 
ably to a requisition from the General Court ; and, in May, 
they allowed Samuel Cole seven shillings for carting pro- 

• The town voted to divide tlie inlmbitatits into tan classes in 1781. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 317 

visions to Watertown the previous year. But the cost of 
either of these is not stated. 

In May, 1777, the town abated the poli-tax of all soldiers in 
the Continental Army belonging to town. In October of the 
same year, the selectmen were directed to furnish such of 
these soldiers aa had enlisted for three years, or during the 
war, with the necessaries of life. 

In January, 1778, the town voted to raise twelve hundred 
pounds, and loan it to the State Treasury, on interest. 

In March, they directed the Committee of Correspondence 
to provide for the famihes of the soldiers in the Continental 
Army ; and, a few weeks after, it was voted to provide 
clothing for Continental soldiers, by purchasing it with 
money to be drawn out of the town-treasury, and to make 
such provision for the families of the officers from the town 
in the Continental service as the selectmen should think fit. 

In May, 1778, the selectmen were authorized to pay, out of 
money of the town or to be hired for the town, thirty pounds 
for each Continental soldier raised within the town, by the 
20th of the month. 

In March, 1779, they voted three hundred dollars for each 
company, to be distributed to such of the company as had 
done more than their proportion in the war; and a thousand 
pounds for hiring men for the war. 

In June of the same year, they granted four thousand 
pounds to pay the hire of soldiers and contingent charges. 

In October, 1779, they raised five hundred pounds for the 
same purpose. 

In March following, the Committee of Safety were allowed 
.£92. 10s. 8d. for taking care of the soldiers' wives; Capt. 
Leviston was allowed £S. ISs. "for a horse to go to the 
taking of Eurgoyne ; " * and ^5,000 waa raised for employing 



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318 HISTORY OF LEICESTKR. 

soldiers. The town had, in the mean time, — between Janu- 
ary, 1778, and March, 1780, — furnished Jethro Jones and Asa 
Harrington supplies, equal, as near as I can calculate the 
depreciated currency, to at least a hundred and twenty dol- 
lars ; as well as sundry other supplies, the amounts of which 
are not ascertained. 

In July, 1780, they raised ^11,058. 5s. 7^d. for hiring 
soldiers, and the same amount to pay " the six-months' men 
who are gone in the Continental Army." It was voted, more- 
over, to give to each soldier a hundred and ten bushels of 
corn; they allowing the town to draw their wages. 

In October, they raised two hundred pounds to purchase 
beef for the army. This was " new money ; " * and the rate 
at which it was reckoned shows what was then regarded as 
the depreciation of the old, — one of new for ninety of old. 

The town, at the same time, abated £20. 8s. tax per head, 
or about 4s. 6d, per man, to all the "three and six months'" 
men. The next month, they raised six thousand pounds to 
pay soldiers. 

In January, 1781, they again abated the poll-taxes of the 
three and six months' men ; raised a committee to go into 
other towns to hire men to go into the service ; and voted 
two hundred and twenty pounds, sUver money, to buy beef 
for the army. The town was, at the same time, divided into 
classes to supply the draughts for soldiers. 

In July, they raised a hundred and twenty-seven pounds, 
silver money, and thirteen thousand pounds of, I suppose. Con- 
tinental currency, with which to purchase beef; and the 
committee were directed to provide not less than a thousand 



• The "new money" was tin emission of bills by MaasHolinsetts, guaranteed by 
the United States, in May, 1180. They were payable in silver in six years, with five 
par cent intei'est, payable annually. It whs never equal to par, and nevei' seems to 
have depreciated like Continental money. In February, 17S1, it was to specie ns one 
and B8ven.-eighths to one; in May following, two and a. quarter to one. It mn down 
to fonr t« one in June; and in September, lT81,the issue of any more bills was stopped. 
— Felfa CurreMy, pp. 188 and 19S. 



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HISTORY OP LEICESTER. 319 

pounds of beef, to send to the army the present month. And, 
ill September, they raised four hundred pounds, w* silver money, 
to meet the charges of the town for beef, pay of soldiers, &c. 
This was the last specific vote for raising money on account 
of the war, which I find recorded ; and the reader may have 
thought that the detail which I have given is too minute for 
a work like this : but it seemed to me, that it was by such 
details only that the people of this day could judge of the 
magnitude and extent of the cost and sacrifice which the 
actors in the Hevolutionary War were willing to sustain for 
the boon for which they were contending. 

It was by no means the men alone who went into the army 
that sustained hardships and endured privations. The farmer 
toiled without ceasing for the means of feeding and clothing 
the soldier and his family. The fruits of the mechanic's days 
and nights of labor went into the treasury of a common cause. 
Woman, too, bore her full share in these incessant labors; 
stinting herself, moreover, of the very necessaries of life, to 
supply the wants of husbands and fathers and brothers in the 
camp and the field. 

There are, indeed, few records of these unostentatious 
sacrifices ; and one reason was, they were too common, too 
universal, to be thought worthy of being noticed. They 
heeded little what posterity might think or say ; the present 
absorbed their chief attention : and now, when we look for a 
history of the period, we are left to personal recoUeetions of 
individuals, to be read in the light of what is known of the 
general condition of the country at the time. 

I have spoken of the part which the women took in tilling 
the soil and gathering the crops. Instances were frequent 
among the men who remained at home, whose stock upon 
their farms, though inadequate to their necessities, had to be 
surrendered or disposed of to pay their war-tax. Such was 
the case, for instance, with Mr. Nathan Sargent, one of the 
substantial farmers of the town. I was assured by his son. 



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320 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

that, time and again, he sold, from his stall or his pasture, 
animals that he greatly needed, in order to meet his share of 
the common burdens of the war. 

Besides, the clothing of the husbands and brothers who 
were in the array for short terms of service was the product 
of household manufactare, spun and woven and made up by 
wives and sisters; and, when the requisitions for stockings 
and shirts and blankets for the army were to be supplied, it 
was the busy fingers and nervous arms of the women that 
furnished them. The State had neither commerce to supply, 
nor money with which to purchase, these homely necessaries 
for the soldier. 

The simple truth was, every nerve and sinew, every article 
of personal possession, as well as the credit both public or 
private of the country, were devoted to ono absorbing 
object ; and it was not until after that object had been sub- 
stantially obtained, that men began to look coolly around 
them, and measure with any thing like accuracy what it had 
cost them. 

What reflects great credit upon the people of the town is, 
that though there was no law which could be enforced 
against them if they suspended their schools, as some other 
towns had done, they rejected the proposition when it was 
made, and, in fact, new-districted the town in 1776. In 1778, 
they voted ^108 for schooling; and, in the next year, added 
i£500 to the Rev. Mr. Confclin's salary. As an example of 
the frequency of the public calls upon the town, in addition 
to the moneys which they raised for other purposes, I have 
before me three State warrants for taxes in the months of 
June, September, and November of 1780, which were sent to 
a constable of the town to enforce against its inhabitants in a 
single year. 

If we should set down the sum of eighteen thousand dol- 
lars as approximating the actual amount paid by the town to 
carry on the war, it would, I am persuaded, fall much below 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 321 

the truth. Nor should it be overlooked, thatj of these sums, 
there were voted and raised over fifteen thousand dollars 
between January, 1777, and September, 1781, — more than 
three thousand three hundred dollars a year, — in addition 
to the other expenses and burdens of the town and its share 
of the State charges.* When, before or since, has there been 
a period, when, for so long a time, such burdens as these 
would have been borne without a murmur ? 

Of the importance of the Committees of Safety and Cor- 
respondence as a means of carrying on the war, I have 
spofeen elsewhere. They were at first volontary bodies, 
depending upon moral force for their power ; but as early as 
February, 1776, they were recognized by the Legislature as 
an existing institution ; and in February, 1777, towns were by 
law authorized to elect them annually. I give in another 
place the names of as many of this committee in Leicester as 
I have been able to ascertain. As an effective police, per- 
vading the community and acting as the executive organ of 
public sentiment,, their power and influence in preserving 
order at home, while they were promoting the operations of 
the array in the field, were an indiKpensable agency in carry- 
ing on the war. Nor was this the only interposition which 
served to suppress every manifestation of hostility to the 
government. The people took up the matter in their pri- 
mary assemblies. 

In June, 1777, Col. William Henshaw was chosen a com- 
mittee to procure what evidence was to be found of the inimi- 
cal disposition of any inhabitant of the town towards this and 
the United States, who might be voted, in the opinion of the 
town, as coming under this class. But the only person I can 
find answering this description in the town was Nathaniel 
Scott : and, in his case, the town, upon further investigation, 

ni, for ITSl, at £855. If tliia is reokoaed as 
at par to about 81,500. It would 
) computation should relate. 



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322 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

were satisfied that the imputation was groundless ; and hia 
name was stricken from the list of suspected persona. 

A more signal instance of the jealous scrutiny exercised 
by the public over the conduct and opinions of individuals 
in the community was in the case of Mr. Allen, one of 
the truest, most consistent, and firmest patriots of the day. 
" Dec. 19, 1775, — Whereas a report has been propagated that 
Mr. Joseph Allen hath violated the ninth article of the Consti- 
tutional Association, in taking undue advantage of the scarcity 
of goods, the Committee of Inspection for said town, having 
examined into the grounds and motive of said report, are of 
opinion that they are cruel, false, and malicious. By order 
of the committee : Joseph Henahaw, chairman." 

In other places, where there was occasion to apply this 
inquisitorial power, the obnoxious person was sometimes 
merely denounced as a suspicious person ; in others, he was 
required to confine himself to his own farm ; in others, he 
was actually imprisoned for a longer or shorter time : but, in 
one form or another, no man could escape the jealous watch- 
fulness of the public eye. 

In 1775, the Provincial Congress, in the absence, as we have 
seen, of any organized government known to the law, applied 
to the Continental Congress for advice as to what measures 
ought to be adopted in the emergency. It was recommended 
that the people should choose a House of Representatives, as 
had been done under the Charter ; that a Council should be 
chosen, as provided in the Charter ; and that the executive 
power should be lodged in this Council. 

This recommendation was followed ; and on the 19th July, 
1775, the House of Representatives convened at the Meeting- 
house in Watertown, and the government was organized as 
advised. Hezekiah Ward was elected a representative from 
Leicester ; and the instructions to him, which were adopted, 
were doubtless drawn by Joseph Allen, Esq., the chairman 
of the committee. They may be found in the Appendix ; and 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 323 

they give the clearest and readiest view 1 could offer of the 
sense of intelligent men upon the wants and condition of the 
country at that period. From this time till the adoption 
of the State Constitution, all commissions were signed by a 
majority of the Council. 

In May, 1776, Seth Washburn was chosen a representative ; 
and the instructions given him on the occasion are the last of 
those remarkable papers which I have copied from the re- 
cords of the town. Nor do I deem any apology necessary for 
occupying so much space with them, when they are regarded 
in the light of historical documents. 

Two things were at this time agitating the public mind, — 
the formation and adoption of a constitution of government 
for the State, and the problem of declaring the Colonies inde- 
pendent. With whom, or precisely when, the idea of national 
independence originated, I am unable to state ; but as early 
as May, 1776, the plan had been so far matured, that a meet- 
ing of the people of Leicester was held on Monday, after the 
22d of that month, upon a warrant containing this article: 
" To see if the town, in case the Honorable the Continental 
Congress should declare an independence of Great Britain, 
will support said Congress, at the risk of their lives and for- 
tunes, in effectuating such a measure, agreeable to a resolve 
of the late Greneral Assembly of this Colony." 

The House of Representatives had, on the 9th of May, re- 
commended to the several towns to give instructions to their 
representatives with respect to independence. The vote of 
the town was, " by the inhabitants then present, unanimously, 
that, in case the Honorable the Continental Congress should 
declare these Colonies independent of Great Britain, they 
would support said Congress in effectuating such a measure, 
at the risk of their lives and fortunes." That measure having 
been adopted by the Congress, upon a motion first made on 
the 7th of June, the people of the State were left to consider 
the matter of their own foi-m of government. The king's 



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324 HISTOJIY OF LEICESTER. 

name had been retained in judicial proceedings, nntil it was 
expunged by order of the General Court in June, 1776. 

When iiidependence was declared, the General Court was 
in session ; and a proposal was made at once to prepare a 
form of government for the State : but no measures were ac- 
tually taken at that time. In September, it was proposed to 
the people to elect their representatives to the General Court, 
with power to adopt a constitution. This did not find general 
fovor. The people of this town voted, in October, that the 
House of Eopresentativea ought not, at that timo, to present 
any new form of government or constitution ; and a series of 
resolutions were adopted, to be communicated to the General 
Court, embodying the views of the town upon the subject. 

The Legislature, however, of 1777, resolved themselves into 
a Constitutional Convention on the 17th of June, and chose a 
committee of seventeen to consider and report upon the sub- 
ject. The town was represented that year by Seth Wash- 
burn and Samuel Green. Mr. Washburn was one of this 
committee. Thomas Gushing was its chairman. This mea- 
sure was taken in consequence of the votes of the towns to 
whom the Legislature had appealed on the 5th of May pre- 
vious. The vote of Leicester was in favor of the Council and 
the House uniting in one body in framing a constitution for 
the acceptance of the people. This committee of seventeen 
reported a form of a constitution to the General Court in De- 
cember; which was submitted to the people in March, 1778. 
It was rejected by a most decided vote. Among the objec- 
tions to it, it had no Bill of Eights, There were hardly votes 
enough for it to be thought worth while to make returns in 
many of the towns. 

The matter remained in this state until E'ebrnary, 1779; 
when the Legislature referred the question to the people, 
whether they would have a convention called for framing a 
new constitution. There were forty-seven votes in this town 
in favor of, and none against, the proposition. It found so 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 325 

mucli favor with the people, that a convention of delegates 
from the several towns was held at Cambridge in September, 
1779. The place of meeting was the old Meeting-houBe in 
Cambridge. Seth Washburn and William Henshaw were dele- 
gates from Leicester. The records of that body would show, 
that, among the congregated talent and wisdom of the State, 
these delegates held an honorable position, and took important 
parts in its proceedings, especially as members of its leading 
committees. 

The constitution was submitted to the towns, for their ap- 
proval or disapproval, in March, 1780. It was adopted by a 
vote of more than two-thirds of the people in its favor. In 
September, an election of State officers was held ; and in 
October, 1780, the government under the constitution was 
organized. Seth Washburn was the first representative un- 
der the constitution ; and, of the votes for governor, John 
Hancock received sixty-nine out of seventy-two that were 
cast. 

After a struggle so long maintained, so exhausting in its 
effect upon the resources of the country, — with industry 
crippled, commerce suspended, public credit prostrated, the 
currency depreciated, and a frightful debt accumulating, — it 
is not to be wondered at that tlie people began to manifest 
symptoms of uneasiness and discontent. Nor was it less sur- 
prising that they sought, as had been so often done before, 
to avert the evil by undertaking to regulate prices and busi- 
ness by conventions and resolutions and pledges. A conven- 
tion for the purpose was held on the 14th July, 1779, at 
Concord; which was attended by delegates from all parts of 
the State. They came together to consult upon the adoption 
of measures for the relief of the people under their difficul- 
ties. Among other things, they proceeded to fix a scale of 
prices of produce and merchandise. At the same time, they 
recommended, in strong terms, the encouragement of schools, 
and the cause of education generally, Leicester, by vote. 



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326 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

approved of the proceedings of the convention, and pledged 
themselves to abide by the same. 

A second convention, at the same place and for the same 
purpose, was held in October following ; at which tho town 
was represented by Honry King, and a more detailed system 
of prices was adopted.* These prices show the scarcity of 
meats, of butter and cheese ; the difficitlty in the way of im- 
porting coffee, tea, or sugar ; and the almost total want of 
cotton in the country, — one pound of cotton being worth as 
much as six bushels of rye, or four of wheat. But the 
people found, by sad experience, that the laws of political 
economy are far more potent than the resolutions of popular 



Men may vote that labor shall bo be high or low, that pro- 
visions in a time of scarcity shall be no higher than in years 
of plenty, and they may attempt to brand as an enemy to his 
country the man who disregards the scale of prices which 
consumers may prescribe as just and fair; but they might 
about as well vote a wet spring or a warm summer, with 
an expectation of regulating the weather, as to attempt by 
resolutions to infuse generous sentiments and a spirit of self- 
sacrifice into men of cold hearts and selfish natures. 

The peace of 1783, though it crowned the work of the 
Revolution with a recognition of our national independence 
by the world, ws^ very far from bringing immediate relief 
for the embarrassments of the people. The army was, indeed, 
disbanded; and the exhausted granaries and stalls of the 
people were no longer to be taxed to feed them. But they 
had come home unpaid, feeling that their services and their 
sufferings had not been duly appreciited; while those who, 



* Some of tho prices, bayoiid vh o o o wis at liberty to olvarge, vr 
)W; West-India rum, 65. 6d. per gi lo moia sea 4s. 7d. per gsllon. Coffef 
ivn sugar, Ms.! Bohaa ten, 1S5 oUun Siif — fl 1 these per pound. Com, 4 
bushel ; rye, 6s. ; wheat, fls. Beef 6^ and 6s per pound ; mutloii, *3. ; I 
i cheese, 6s. per pound. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 327 

at home, had strained their last aiiiew to pay bounties upon 
their enlistment, and to feed and clothe them, and pay their 
wages (though in part), felt that it was a common lot of 
suffering and sacrifice, and should be borne by all as men 
embarked in one vessel, which, under the favor of Provi- 
dence, had at last reached its haven. There were, besides, 
officers residing in the towns, who, after having gone through 
the period of the greatest peril and sacrifice during the war, 
had only retired when their services were no longer neces- 
sary, but who, by having then resigned, would lose their 
claim to the extra allowance made to such as remained till 
its close. 

In view of these things, the town, in 1782, instructed their 
representative to endeavor to have the General Court peti- 
tion Congress not to pay the officers who should be " de- 
ranged out of the army" more than lialf-pay for a single 
year. Another reason for this expression was, undoubtedly, 
the change which had come over the composition of the army 
itaelf towards the close of the war. In addition to the many 
who had joined it from motives of patriotism alone, there 
were others — and tfiey were growing more numerous every 
year the war lasted — who were influenced by mercenary 
motives, and were ready to enlist because of the bounties 
and pay which they were to receive, and to whom the reck- 
less and exciting hfe of the camp had more attractions than 
the hard work of a farm or a workshop in the seclusion of a 
country town. It is not, therefore, surprising that some grew 
discontented, and regarded those things as grievances which 
were the legitimate result of a protracted state of war and 
exhausted resources. 

There was, accordingly, as early as March, 1781, a conven- 
tion called by the people of Sutton, who seem to have been 
the first to manifest restlessness, to which Hezekiah Ward 
and John Lyon were delegates, Little was attempted, and, 
I believe, nothing done. 



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328 HISTORY OP LEICESTER. 

In 1786, another convention was held, at the call, again, of 
the people of Sutton; professedly to consider the subject 
of an excise duty, but embracing, in fact, the evils generally 
which they deemed to be grievances. It met at Worcester, 
and Col. Samuel Denny was a delegate from Leicester: 
Ebenezer Davis, Esq., of Charlton, was the president. This 
was but the muttering of the storm that was about to shake 
the fabric of the body politic of the State to its foundation 
in the insurrection of 1786. 

We should, however, be doing injustice to many, and per- 
hapB most, of those who attended these early popular gather- 
ings, if we suppose they did ao to fan a sentiment of discord 
among the people. So far from it, many of them went for the 
purpose of allaying the spirit of misrule, and to infuse wiser 
counsels and cooler judgment into their deliberations. A 
memorable instance of this occurred in the case of a conven- 
tion, called, as the others had been, from Sutton, which met 
at Leicester in May, 1786. Willis Hall, of Sutton, presided 
on the occasion. David Henshaw and Col. Thomas Denny 
were delegates from Leicester. They were firm in their 
adhesion to the government, resolute in their purpose, and 
shrewd and discreet in their measures. The attendance was 
thin, and the convention adjourned to the 15th August. At 
the adjourned meeting, thirty-seven towns were represented ; 
but 80 effectually clogged were the measures of the conven- 
tion by the concerted action of these gentlemen with otlier 
friends of the government, that it contented itself with rais- 
ing a committee to report a memorial for its adoptiou, and 
adjourned to Paxton on the 25th September. It met and 
adjourned from time to time till January, 1787 ; when the 
outbreak of the insurgents had so far developed itself, that 
the town deliberately resolved not to be any longer repre- 
sented in such a body, and dismissed their delegates. 

Though there were several here who sympathized with 
those who opposed the government in that insurrection, the 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 329 

i of the town were so far under the control of a fow 
leading minds, that they were always upon the side of law 
and order. In the adoption of many of the important votes 
passed by the town at that time, its action was unanimous. 
In 1778, a hst was made of every man in town of the age of 
twenty-one and upwards ; and every one was called upon to 
take the oath of allegiance to the State, upon the peril of 
being reported to the town. No one, however, hesitated to 
comply ; and the record, to this extent, is wifchout a stain. 

The events of the insurrection belong to the history of the 
State rather than to that of a single town. The friends of 
the government wore, by way of distinction, a white fillet 
of paper in their hats; their opponents, a sprig of green. 
Tliere were a few of the latter in the town, and it is fitting 
that oblivion should rest over their names. No one, at this 
day, can appreciate or understand the weight of the pressure 
under which they acted. It was little less than the impulse 
of despair. I find the names of seventeen who were required, 
between the 9th February and 22d March, 1787, to take the 
oath of allegiance; and nine of these were required to sur- 
render their arms. 

Numerous anecdotes were once rife in this community of 
the parts which individuals took in resisting this attempt to 
foment civil war. One great object of the insurgents was 
to stop the courts of justice. For this purpose, great num- 
bers assembled in Worcester in September and November, 
1786, and January, 1787. To prevent the Clerk of the Court, 
— Hon. Joseph Allen, — whom they knew no threats could 
intimidate, from attending the court, a sentinel was posted at 
his door with a fixed bayonet, with peremptory orders not 
to suffer him to come out, or any person to go in to render 
him aid. Beth Washburn, having business with the court, 
and occasion to see Mr. Allen, was approaching his door, when 
his right of passing was fiercely challenged by this sentinel, 
with a bayonet at his breast. Before, however, the sentinel 



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330 HISTURY OF LEICESTER. 

could collect his thoughts sufficiently to act in so new a duty, 
Mr. Washburn sprang upon him, and, seizing his muakefc with 
one hand and his person with the other, disarmed liim ; and 
the clerk was liberated from his confinement. 

Luke Day, one of the insurgent captains from the western 
part of the State, had occasion to pass from Worcester, 
through Leicester, on his way to Springfield. The winter 
was a remarkably cold one, and the day of which I am speak- 
ing was severe for the winter. He was on horseback, wore 
a military dress, and carried a sword in his hand. His 
appearance was imposing, and his bearing imperious and 
haughty. Upon reaching the house of Mr. Nathan Sargent, 
the first one in Leicester on his way from Worcester, he 
stopped, dismounted, fastened hia horse, and went into the 
house to warm him. 

Laying his hat and sword upon the table, and taking a 
chair to sit down by the fire, ho asked Mr. Sargent, as a thing 
which he was going to take at any rate, if he might warm him 
by his fire. Mr. Sargent, who had been silently observing 
his free and easy manners and his imperative air, replied, 
" Not till I know who you are. These are suspicious times, 
and I must know who it is I am to entertain." Day, dilating 
himself to his full height, and assuming more than his usual 
consequence, replied, that " he was Capt. Day." — " Then 
get out of this house ! " said Mr. Sargent ; and, seizing Day's 
hat and sword, threw them out into a snow-drift, and drove 
Day after them. Gathering them up, he resumed his ride ; 
swearing a vengeance upon Mr. Sargent, which he never 
found it convenient to inflict. 

Excursions of government-men were sent out from time to 
time, from Leicester, to seize insurgents, and break up their 
haunts in other towns, — once, certainly, as far as New 
Braintree. On the other hand, the insurgents in this and the 
neighboring towns were not passive. Several of the promi- 
nent government-men were obliged to secrete themselves to 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 331 

avoid personal insult and violence. This was the case with 
Mr. Conkiin. More than once, he was compelled to find lodg- 
ings in other houses than his own, to escape the midnight 
attacks which were planned for hia arrest. 

Several from the town — among whom I might mention Dr. 
Flint, and, as I have been told, Joseph Washburn — were 
with Gfen. Lincoln in his memorable night-march through the 
trackless drifts of a blinding snow-storm, from Hadley to 
Petersham, which struck a final blow at the hopes of the 
insurgents. 

Fortunately, the wild storm of passion which had been 
agitating the community like that of the elements of the 
night of the 3d and 4th of February, 1787, was followed by 
a day of sunshine and calm. The people returned to the alle- 
giance to their own laws and institutions. Industry, at last, 
wrought out that independence for men individually which 
courage and perseverance had done for the nation ; and it 
has long since faded away into tradition, how troops were 
quartered, in the time of peace, in this farmer's house and 
upon that moehanie'a premises ; and how houses were 
searched for arms, under an apprehension that their inmates 
were plotting treason, or collecting the means for resisting 
the law. 

Few events have occurred of a public nature, since the 
suppression of " Shay's Rebellion," in regard to which Leices- 
ter can be said to have a history of her own. 

When the United- States Constitntion was submitted to the 
States for their ratification, the people of the town chose for 
their delegate Col. Samuel Denny, to attend the convention 
that assembled at Boston on the second Wednesday of Janu- 
ary, 1788. When that body met, a majority was undoubtedly 
against the adoption of the Constitution. The delegate from 
Leicester voted against it to the last; but, fortunately, 
enough of its members were convinced that the future sta- 
bility of the government, and the ultimate success of tlie 



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332 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

attempt to maintain national independence, required them to 
ivaive their first impressions, to carry the measure of its 
adoption, and settle the question as a national one, which 
had, till then, hnng doubtful or preponderating against it. 

Nor were they mistaken. Every year has shown that it 
was under the banner of the Union which was then formed, 
and under that alone, that this nation of yesterday has gone 
on in its growth of power and prosperity, till it stands to-day 
the equal of the proudest and oldest of the family of nations. 

When the harmony of our relations with France was dis- 
turbed in 1794, and measures were taken to raise an army, 
the town promptly responded to the call, and voted bounties 
to such as should enHst, and an addition to the pay offered by 
the General Government,* 

But there were few laurels won by the "Oxford Army." 
No blood was shed; and, when peace came, it took no time to 
heal old wounds ; and every thing went on again in quiet. 

The time has not come to write the history of those mea- 
sures upon which the pubUc mind was divided before and 
during the war of 1812. Posterity is doing justice to the 
memory and the motives of the actors on both sides ; and time 
may, if it has not already done so, settle the measure of wis- 
dom which dictated the policy which the General Government 
adopted. All that I have to do witli the subject is to record 
the fact, that the town was opposed to the policy of the gov- 
ernment. In 1808, they passed a vote condemning the em- 
bargo, and adopted an address to Mr. Jefferson for its repeal. 

In 1812, they, by vote, disapproved of the war with Great 
Britain ; but when orders for draughts of men, who should 



II b f m tha original raoeipt of the tollowiiig soldiers who Toluiiteered ns 
mi W Sit mbei', 179*. and receivad n bounty of six siiillings each from Ilia 

t S g t 11 la Towns; corporal, NtlnB JInF dn, Joalina 

Sp p J b H bart, Asnlial MatttiewB, Eeabe B S Jos i h Wl tc iiore, Jo- 

pl E1II f J L on Morse, David Wats Jos ph H i nw B I j Bond, Joel 
Wood d lb aa F Nawliall, Abmhnm W Ik N 1 an 1 H a d 3d, Daniel 
W Iso Simeon Fl Ip , Daniel Baldwin, Jobu Adams. 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 333 

be ready to march at the eariicst notice, came, they ivere 
promptly complied with. As there was then no light com- 
pany in town, the order under which the light troops of the 
State were called into service in and around Boston did not 
affect its inhabitants; and none of them, except a few who 
may have enlisted into the regular army, were req^uired to do 
active duty during the war. 

An incide:it connected with one of these draughts may not 
be inappropriate here, however it may reflect upon the cou- 
rage and patriotism of the soldiers of 1812 compared with 
those of 1775. 

The first order was, I think, for five or seven from the South 
Company. It was then pretty generally believed, that who- 
ever was drawn would have service to do in repelling the 
attacks of the enemy upon our coast. No one seemed anx- 
ious to win laurels in that quarter. Instead, however, of 
drawing, as was first proposed, the names of the requisite 
number by lot, it was thought best to offer an opportunity, to 
such as were willing, to enlist freely. It was, accordingly, 
proposed, that, the company standing in open ranks, the drum- 
mer should proceed from the right of the company down its 
rear, and then up in front, beating the proper call ; and that 
such as were willing to enlist should fall in, and follow him up 
to the right of the company. The captain, after addi'essing 
a few patriotic words to his men, gave the proper order. The 
drummer went beating his drum down the rear, and up the 
front of the line to his place ; hut no one moved. Each 
waited for hia courage to come or his neighbor to go ; and 
soldiers and spectators stood waiting to see what was to be 
the next movement. 

The order was repeated : and again the drummer began his 
round, and had reached about the middle of the front of the 

company, with no better success than before ; when Mr. S , 

a soldier of the Revolution, — who had brought from the ser- 
vice a wound which had made it convenient to use a staff, 



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334 tllSTORY OF LEICESTER. 

but in whom the spirit of 1776 was by no means dead, — 
stepped from the group of spectators who were witnessing 
the scene; shouldered his staff, a& he had so often done his 
musket more than thirty years before ; and filed in behind the 
drummer, with a measured step and soldierly bearing, and 
followed him up the line. Another and another of his old 
companions in arms, who were present, filed in behind him; 
Eind, before the drummer liad reached the head of the com- 
pany, more than the requisite number of recruits had paraded 
on the spot, amidst the applause of the spectators, as volan- 
teers again ready to march, if their country needed them. 

"We have reached a period, however, in reviewing the past, 
of which history may not presume to speak at present. It 
remains for some one, less identified with the character of 
passing events, to do justice to these and their actors. And 
yet, in closing this outline of what goes to make up the gene- 
ral history of the town, it seems to be a proper occasion to 
present to the mind some of the more striking circumstances 
which characterize the present and the past. 

In the first place, the most remarkable contrast is in what 
goes to make up life itself. Men live a great deal faster, and 
fill up life a vast deal more completely, now, than they did 
seventy or eighty years ago. Without newspapers or post- 
oiEces ; with few books, and those exceedingly expensive ; 
with no means of intercourse, for common people, but on foot 
or on horseback, — life upon their forms (for there were few 
workshops to serve as places of neighborhood resort) must 
have stagnated for want of something to rouse the mind to 
action. 

It is difficult for one, standing in the whirl and go-ahead 
movement of every thing around him in our day, — railroads, 
which bring him nearer to New York than his grandfather 
was to the next town that adjoined him ; mails everywhere, 
and from three to half a dozen times a day, between points 
which it then took a fortnight to connect; newspapers (po- 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 335 

litical, theological, scientific, and literary), embracing all inte- 
rests and sects and subjects, thrown into every man's door, 
to teii him, among other things, of what took place two hours 
ago at St. Louis or Halifax, and placing him, as it were, tipou 
one great central point, where, through the sensitive wires of 
the telegraph, he can feel every pulsation of the moving mil- 
lions upon the globe, — I say, it is difficult for such a one to 
comprehend the dull, monotonous, do-Httle life of the first 
generation of those who planted these towns in the interior 
of Massachusetts. Every thing partakes of the change; and 
every man seems to be on a chase with his fellow-men, which 
shall go farthest and festest. 

In the schools, instead of a few rudiments of elementary 
teaching, the whole encyclopaedia of science is to be mastered 
by boya and girls of a dozen years old : and, in matters of 
rehgion, — instead of a minister settled for life, preaching 
his two sermons of a Sunday, and working his farm and study- 
ing his ponderous tomes of polemical divinity of a week-day, 
— there are not days enough in the week for the lectures 
and meetings, the sewing-circles, the society-gatherings of all 
imaginable phases of benevolence ; in all which, everybody, 
especially the minister, must take a part, — to be used up and 
dismissed the moment he ceases to bo able to " keep alive the 
interest of his people." 

We often hear, and always with something like a feeling of 
reflected merit, of the courage and patriotism, the puritanic 
virtues and primitive simplicity of habits, of our ancestors ; 
and yet, loose as may be the sentiments of our own day, it 
seems to me that there has been a decided improvement upon 
the state of morals which existed immediately and for many 
years after the war.* 



• I copy the foDowing memonindnTn 
althoagh it ought by no meaos to be regi 
at that day. I □mit the names, as 1 beli 



pdvnta diarvnsas 


ingvlar ,M^ 






ii'yoneof themoaiu 


e to pi-eciaaly i 



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336 HISTORY OF LEICKSTiiR. 

The war and the camp had had their usual effect upon 
those who had served throiigh the Revolution. Indisposition 
for systematic labor, and profanity and intemperance, were 
the natural fruits of a soldier's life. These were witnessed 
in high life as well as low. Some of the grosser vices were 
more openly tolerated then than they are now ; because the 
tastes of the community are more cultivated, and less tolerant 
of grossness in any form, than they once were. On the other 
hand, in the intercourse of life — in the respect for age, 
for eminence in rank or station ; in the bearing of children 
towards their parents, and in the young towards the old — 
there has been a change which no man can fail to deplore. 

There was a courtesy, and dignity of intercourse, in their 
associations in the army, between our well-bred superior 
officers and those who had been trained in the schools of 
Germany and France, which impressed itself upon every little 
community in which they settled after the war, and which 
has given place to the precocity of Young America, and the 
deference which the young, now-a-days, extort from the mid- 
dle-aged and the old. 

The style of dress, of the houses in which men live, of 
their social entertainments, and, in short, the whole matter of 
living, has fully kept pace with the progress of other changes. 
What man, much less what woman, would be content with the 
furniture that satisfied our grandmothers? — sanded or paint- 
ed floors, without a carpet ; an hour-glass, it may be, but no 
clock ; a pillion, but no chaise or carriage of any kind. In- 
stead of a piano, the daughters learned the use of a spinning- 



an end ae misht hnve bean artioipated; and it can be of no use to revive Hie memory 
of forgotten wracks. 

"In Jftiiufiry, 1772, the 'Club' met at Tsvern, and drank, and played cardK, 

and quflri'cllsd, all night. They met aBiJn in February, aud carried on Uie same game: 
ind in Maich, on Monday, they met and staid Hll Tuesdny night; and they gave D.'a 
wife a mng of flip to kiss B, The names of some of thesB are W. B. B., and othe.E. 
And, on asa May, thei 
the same ag^n ; all w 



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HISTORY or LEICa.;STER. 337 

wheel and loom, in which the garments of the household were 
wrought. The household arts have indeed, within that time, 
wholly disappeared, and a "quill-wheel" or a "reel" has 
hecomo a curiosity suited to a museum of antediluvian fos- 
ads. On the other hand, schools have vastly improved; the 
standard of education of all classes has advanced, especially 
among the so-called educated men, in an equal ratio ; and 
branches of science, which were not known, even by name, 
to our ancestors, are now familiar studies. Books have been 
multiplied, especially such as are suited to the popular taste, 
and their prices reduced to an extent of which no man 
could have conceived three-quarters of a century ago; while 
newspapers and magazines, in the purposes to which they 
arc applied, are all hut the discoveries of the last half- 
century. 

As to the condition of woman, if her equality of rights and 
duties be a test of the social condition of an age in the 
matter of comparative advancement, — saying nothing of the 
conventionalities of social intercourse and fashion, — many of 
the things which women are now holding conventions and 
making harangues and adopting resolutions that they havo a 
right to do, our mothers did, without dreaming that they were 
heroines or martyrs. I have mentioned more than once 
what they did in the culture of their farms while their hus- 
bands were away in the army. Time and again, the wife of 
the representative of the town accompanied him on horse- 
hack to Boston to make her own little purchases, and lead 
back the animal which the husband had ridden, as the only 
mode of travelling at that day ; and when the muster- 
master of the Continental troops was absent on public duty, 
and men offered themselves for inspection, the wife did 
not hesitate to perform the duty, and deliver the proper 
certificate in order to their being mustered into the army.* 



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338 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Nobody spoke of these women as " strong-mindeiJ," or ex- 
pected to find them any the less better wives or mothers, 
because they shared in the rough but common experiences 
of a community of which they were a part. 

I say nothing of any comparison between the standard of 
political qualification and success during the last quarter 
of the last century and our own day. Some have thought the 
scale of morals, of disinterested devotion to country, and of 
qualification for office; learning, fitness, and honesty, — had 
not been elevated or improved since the days of Hawley and 
Adams and Madison and Jay, It may be that posterity will 
perceive beauties and excellences, in the policy and measures 
and deportment oi the hbt Congress or two, which have 
escaped the attenti m of those who stood too near them to 
jndge of the harmony into which the light and shade of their 
grouping upon the canvas rai) blend at a period of observa- 
tion more remote, 

One change in the people of this community, since the 
close of the Revolution, cannot escape the attention of the 
most casual observer. That contest found New England, at 
its commencement, an industrial, a homogeneous race of men, 
of pure Anglo-Saxon stock. The Revolution introduced a 
new element, to an inconsiderable extent, by the deserters 
and those taken prisoners, who chose to remain here, of the 
British and German troops. 

In March, 1780, by a vote of the General Court, " Robert 
Todd, a British soldier of the troops of the Convention of 
Saratoga, is permitted to reside in Leicester ; having taken 
the oath of allegiance and paid taxes in Leicester, and pro- 
duced a certificate of the selectmen that he appears to be a 
good member of society." 

Even within the recollection of many now living, the sight 
of an " old countryman " was rare in country towns forty 
miles from the seaboard. But now their numbers have be- 
come so great, that the national prejudice thereby awakened 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 339 

was made the basis of a shortrlived party organization, impo- 
tent indeed of good ; and the Constitution of the Common- 
weaith has boon amended, to counteract, as it is assumed, the 
un-Americanized action of naturalized citizens. 

But, in a work like this, it is only in reference to its local 
and social effect that this change is referred to. Nor is it 
to be wondered at, that those who remember the old and 
stable families that have given place, as proprietors of the soil 
in many of our towns, to names of less familiar patronymic 
origin, should regret the change, even if they were conscious 
of no national prejudice or jealousy. 

Fortunately, the process of assimilation goes on so rapidly, 
that no effort to create a caste in social or political rights, 
based on birth alone, can ever be successful for any groat 
length of time. By the second generation, every one ia fused 
into an American citizen, and the birthplace of the ancestor 
is forgotten. 

As we thus glance over the past, we can hardly fail of the 
conviction, that, in every thing that goes to make up what ia 
called the progress of the age, Loiceater has kept pace with 
the other towns in the Commonwealth; but, when we turn 
to the future, it cannot be concealed, that there are causes at 
work, in tliia and every town similarly situated, adverse to its 
retaining its relative importance, although it may be making 
a positive progress in wealth and numbers. 

There has been — especially of late years, and since the 
opening of so many railroads — a tendency to centraUzattmi, 
drawing men of capital and enterprise to the focal points of 
business. It ia aeen in the counties in this Commonwealth, 
and in the great business republic of the country. The 
smaller towns and cities do not keep pace, in their relative 
rank and influence, with the larger ones ; and, so long as a 
wide field offers more attractions for the man of enterprise 
than a limited one, this will continue to go on. One sees it in 
Worcester, in Boston, and in New York. There is scarcely a 



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340 HISTORY or LEICESTER, 

town in all New England that is not more or less largely 
represented in each of the two last-named cities. 

At a social gathering in Worcester, a few years since, of 
natives of Leicester resident in that city, some sixty or more 
sat flown together to indulge in the pleasant memories of their 
birthplace. Those cmhraced men in almost every business 
and profession. They were among those whose industry and 
moral worth had been adding wealth an{l respectability to the 
flourishing city of their adoption. It was from no feeling of 
alienation towards the home of their childhood. It was no 
sudden exodus i'rom the place where their fathers had lived 
contentedly and independently. They came one by one, and 
as the superior advantages of their new homes for business 
offered attractions suiSciently strong to break tlie ties that 
bound them to those they left. That something like this is 
to operate upon the hopes and reasonable ambition of young 
men hereafter, is doubtless to be expected. 

If, however, mechanics and traders and professional men 
shall continue to seek elsewhere a wider or more tempting 
field for their enterprise and skill, the town has little cause 
to apprehend a decline, if she will but avail herself of the 
attractions which she will continue to command in the lite- 
rary institution* which is planted here, and in the associations 
which she may ofi"er of moral, cultivated, and refined society ; 
and will lend, to the natural beauties of scenery of a locality 
of unsurpassed healthfulness, the adornments of taste which 
a wise liberality and a generous public spirit would dictate. 
It was of the past, however, that I undertook to speak : and 
I cannot review what I have written, — meagre and unsatis- 
factory as it may seem, — without congratulating her sons, 
wherever they may be found scattered through this wide 
continent, that the past is at least secure; that, among con- 
in 1856, farther noti 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 341 

temporary civil communities, none more faithfully, more zeal- 
ously, or more consistently, acted up to the line of duty, of 
honor, and of patriotism, as well in the hours of danger and 
difficulty as of prosperity and success, than the one in whose 
councils their ancestors took a part, and within whose soil 
thoir ashes are reposing. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



CHAPTER IX. 



GESEALOGIES, &c. 



The reader should bo apprised that this chapter ia exceed- 
ingly defective, from the impossibility, with the means and 
opportunity I could command, to make it complete. It has 
been my aim to record the names, and dates of birth, of all 
persons born in Leicester in the first century after its settle- 
ment ; and, so far as these have been recorded in the registry 
of births in the town, I believe it has been done. Beyond 
that, I have depended upon published family genealogies iu 
part, and in part upon the aid which individuals have been 
able to afford me. 

If, therefore, many names and certain famihes are omitted, 
who, from their social position and inlluenco, might be ex- 
pected to hold a place in such a record, it must be ascribed 
only to the want of means of obtaining the requisite informa- 
tion. Imperfect as it is, this record will be found to contain 
about three hundred families; in procuring the account of 
which, I have to acknowledge the aid derived from the " Ge- 
nealogical Sketch of the Descendants of Thomas Green," by 
Samuel S. Green, Esq., of Providence ; tlie " Genealogy of 
the Vinton Family," by J. A. Vinton ; the " Genealogy of the 
Sargent Family," by Aaron Sargent, Esq., of SomerviUe, Mass. ; 
the " Genealogy of the Parsons Family," by S. G. Drake, Esq., 
published in the " Genealogical Register ; " and personal com- 
munications from Dr. Pliny Earle, Lyman Waite, Esq., and 
Joseph A. Denny, Esq., of Leicester ; Hon. Judge Hayward 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 343 

of McConnellsville, 0., in relation to the Brown Family ; Henry 
H, Silvester, Esq., of Charleston, N.H. ; and the valuable 
" History of Spencer," by Hon. James Draper, to which re- 
ference has more than once been made. To Mr. William S. 
Denny ■— whoso transcript of the records of the births, mar- 
riages, and deaths, was kindly furnished for my use ■ — I am 
also much indebted for the means of testing the accuracy of 
the information derived from other quarters. 

Adams, Ebbnezbr, m. Alice Frink of Rutland, and had Aine- 
Ua, b. June 2, 1796 ; m. Eev. Mr. Murdock, and d. in Portland, 
Me. Adeline A., b. Jan. 17, 1798; d. unmarried. John F., 
b. Nov. 3, 1799 ; m. Elizabeth, dau. of Hon. Lovell Walker; 
now lives in Washington, D.C., and is noticed in this work. 
Charles A., \>. Oct. 2, 1801 ; d. in early life in Portland. Har- 
riet B., b, Sept. 14, 1804 ; m. Hon. John Aiken, now of Ando- 
ver; d, in Columbia, S.C, where she had gone for health, 
leaving two children, one a professor in Dartmouth College. 
Mrs. Adams d. June 20, 1805, aged thirty-six, 

Allen, Joseph, Hon., removed here from Boston, Nov. 17, 
1771 ; m. Anne, dau. of Judge Steele, and had Thomas, b. 
Nov. 16, 1774; d. March 30, 1775. Mrs. Allen d. May 10, 
1775, aged twenty-four. In 1776, Mr. Allen was appointed 
Clerk of the Courts of the County, and removed to Worcester. 
He is noticed in this work. He held many offices of honor 
and trust, — Councillor, Member of Congress, Presidential 
Elector, &c. ; and d. Sept. 2, 1827, aged seventy-eight. 

Allen, Aaron, m. Catherine Cummings, July 10, 1739; 
and had Elizabeth, b. Oct. 4, 1739. 

Allen, Lewis, m. Mary Adams of Worcester, but had no 
children. He was from Shrewsbury. He lived on the Mounts- 
Pleasant Place, then in fine repair; and d. Nov. 7, 1782, aged 
thirty-four. He was buried in the garden of the place on 
which he lived. He was spoken of at his death as " a groat 
loss to his friends and the public." 



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344; HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 

Bass, Joseph, was early a seafaring man and a ship-master 
in the West-India trade. He came from Plymouth County to 
Leicester with his family. His wife was mother of John 
Hobart, Esq. Their children were Manly; MatUda, m. a 
Reed ; Saha, m. William Lynde ; Warren, removed to Lisbon, 
N.H. ; Betsey, d. unmarried. Mr. Bass ia noticed in another 
part of this work. His wife d. 1816; he in 1829, aged 
seventy-five. He lived in the house opposite Mrs, New- 
hall's. 

Beers, Nathan, m. Betsey, dau, of Isaac Sonthgate, Mar. 4, 
1790; and had SaUy, b. June 17, 1790; m. Amos Warren, 
Esq., of Woodstock, Vt., 1854. Melissa, h. Feb. 10, 1798 ; 
m. R. Bancroft, 1821. Horaiio, b. May 10, 1802. Alphonso, 
b. Dec. 26, 1805; d. April 22, 1843. Almira, a twin; m. Wil- 
liam Woodcock of Leicester, 1838. Alhert, b. July 13, 1800 ; 
a,aA A<Mine,\). Nov. 4, 1813. Mr. Beers was a manufacturer of 
shoes ; and, the latter part of his life, lived in Cherry Valley, 
in the house afterwards occupied by Moses Shepherd. 

Bruce, George, m. Hannah Lovett, March 30, 1758. He 
was born in Mendon ; was a commissary in the army of the 
Revolution ; and removed to Rutland. From thence he came 
to Leicester about 1783. He lived in various places in the 
town ; and, at one time, kept a tavern in the Mount-Pleasant 
House. He died May 3, 1788. He had ten children, all of 
whom were born before his removal to Leicester ; but most 
if not all of them lived at some time in Leicester. Among 
them were FMnehas, h. Jan. 7, 1762; mentioned among the 
college graduates. Hannah, b. Dec. 27, 1767 ; m. Daniel P. 
Upton, Esq., of Eastport, Me., and was the mother of Hon. 
George B. Upton of Boston. George, h. Nov. 21, 1769 ; d. in 
Billerica in 1826; had been a merchant in Boston. Patty, 
b. May 10, 1771; m. Nathan Waite, jun., afterwards of Sterling ; 
d. July, 1794, leaving one daughter. Abigail, b. July 14, 
1773 ; died unmarried at Billerica, 1843. Stephen, b. Aug. 21, 
1775 ; d. in Worcester, unmarried. WiUiam, b. Feb. 14, 1778 ; 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 345 

d. in Bangor, 1841 ; a merchant. Charles, b. Sept. 29, 1781 ; 
d., unmarried, 1817; had been a merchant in Charleston, S.C. 
None of the family remain in Leicester. 

Barton, Joshua, came from Oxford in 1720. He had Timo- 
thy, b. April 13, 1T32; Naihan, b. July 23, 1734; Bevhen, 
b. March 28, 1738. He removed to Spencer in 1737. Hia 
wife's name was Anna. 

Barton, Phinbhas, m. Elizabeth, dan. of John Hasey, 1772. 
They had Betsey, b. Sept. 3, 1776 ; m. Alexander Westley. Eli- 
jah, b. Oct. 25, 1778 ; m. Hannah, dau. of Luther Ward, 1810 ; 
waa an ingenious mechanic ; removed from Leicester, before 
1817, to Connecticut, where he now hvea. Samuel, b. Dec, 
24, 1782. Phiriehas, b. May 12, 1785. Pkinehas, 2d, b. Oct. 
27, 1795; lives in the city of New York. Horace, b. Dec. 17, 
1799, Mr. Barton was a laboring man, and lived 
places in Leicester. Edward, a son of Betsey, 
known gentleman of business in New York ; and 



a well- 
one of 



the proprietors of the " New- York Times," which he helped 



Barton, Caleb, brother of the above, came originally from 
Oxford. He lived in the south-west part of the town, and is 
mentioned among the soldiers of the Revolution. He had 
Caleb, jun. David. Charles,]), in 1795 ; now living in Leices- 
ter. Otis, who lives in Oakham, And Brigham N., now in 
business in Philadelphia. His daughters were Bebecca, who 
m. Knight Sprague, jun. Sally, m. J. Gilbert. Fatly, m. 
Philip Earle. Boxa, m. Charles King; and d. 1843, aged fifty- 
three. Mehitabd, m, a Hixon of Medway. Hiddah, m. a Clark 
of Medway. Harriet, m. a Prentiss of Auburn. Adeline, m. a 
Blake of Hopkinton. Mr, Barton had two wives : first, Polly, 
dau, of Samuel Upham ; and, second, Betsey Lamb. 

Brown, William, was bom in England; came to this coun- 
try before 1086, and to Leicester before 1721. He was a 
soldier in the Indian and French wars. He died in Leicester 
in 1752. His wife's name was Martha. They had William, 2d ; 



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346 HISTORY or Leicester. 

John, b. about 1703 ; Zaehariah; and Samuel. He lived ou 
the farm now belonging to William Silvester. 

Brown, William, 2d, son of the above. His wife's namo 
was Martha. They had Martlia, b. April 30, 1724; WiUiam, 
3d, b. Dec. 12, 1727. He lived where William Silvester now 
lives. 

Brown, Zachabiah, son of William, 1st; m. Patience Con- 
verse, 1730 ; and had Joshua, b. June 3, 1732. Zaehariah, 2d ; 
b, Oct. 6, 1739. His house was south-west of William Silves- 
ter's, and upon the south side of the road. 

Brown, Samuel, son of William, 1st. His wife's name was 
Mary. They had Eunice, who married Elder Richard South- 
gate, grandfather of Oapt. Isaac Southgate; and Abram, 
b. Feb. 8, 1740. 

Brows, John, 1st, son of WiUiam, Ist, was a soldier in the 
French wars, and commanded a company in the Louisburg 
expedition in 1745. He was a leading man in the town, and 
its representative in the General Court for twenty years. Ho 
d. 1791, at the age of oighty-eight. His first wife was Lydia 
NewLalh He lived where Peter Silvester lived and died, in 
the south-west part of the town. Their children were ^o7m, 
b. 1733. Ferley, b. May 27, 1737. He was a soldier in the 
French War. He built and hved in the old house lately owned 
by Mr. Thomas Sprague. Dorothy, b. Aug. 23, 1728 ; m. 
Simeon Wilson, 1746. Lydia, b. Nov. 14, 1730; m. Edward 
Hale of Uxbridge, 1748. 

Capt. Brown m., for his second wife, Mary Jones, aunt of 
Hon. John Coffin Jones, and had Mary, h. April 24, 1743; 
m. Daniel Reed, Uxbridge, 1765. H^ekah, b. Sept. 9, 1744; 
m. Isaac Southgate (1769), father of Capt. Isaac. Bertjamin, 
b. Oct. 6, 1745; m. Jean, dau. of Archibald Thomas, 1792. 
He commanded a company of Continental troops, in the Eevo- 
lution, three years; removed to Ohio in 1797, and died in 
1821. Luay, b. Oct. 8, 1747. SaraJi, b. Nov. 23, 1750; m. 
John White, 1785. Bannah, h, Nov. 24, 1752; m. Frederick 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 34T 

Baylies, 1773. Elimheth, b. Dec. 16, 1754; ra. Jeremiah 
Chase, 1780. William, h. June 15, 1758. Gcdeh, b. Feb. 16, 
1760. Daniel, h. Dec. 17, 1761. Opphia, b. April 13, 1765. 
A»iel, and three other children ; making nineteen in all. Of 
these, John, Perley, and William were in the battle of Bunker 
Hill ; making, with Benjamin, four in the Revolutionary ser- 
vice. 

Beown, John, 2d, son of John, 1st, m. llebekah Baldwin, 
1757 ; and had Samuel, b. June 1, 1758 ; Lydia, b. May 12, 
1760, He is mentioned among the members of the company 
that took part in the battle of Bunker Hill, and was severely 
wounded in that engagement. He lived in the south-west 
part of the town, where Daniel Mussy hved. He removed to 
Washington County, 0., after the war; and d. September, 
1821, aged eighty-eight. 

Of the numerous families of Brown above mentioned, no 
descendant of the name, it is believed, remains in Leices- 
ter. 

Bond, Balet, m. Elizabeth Hopkins, 1740 ; and had Baley, 
b. Oct. 26, 1740. 

The families of this name came to Leicester from Be- 
verly. 

BosD, Edwaed, formerly kept the tavern which stood where 
H. Knight, Esq., lives, and was burned in 1767, His wife's 
name was Experience. Their children were Edward, b. Dec. 
28, 1737. Experience, b. Dec. 16, 1739. Emma, b. 1741 ; 
m, Richard Bond, 1768. Be-njamin, b. June 28, 1743. Abigail, 
b. May 16, 1745. Jonathan. He lived in a house which stood 
where Capt, Gleason recently lived. 

BOHD, Benjamis, 1st, son of above, m, Elizabeth, dau. of 
Nathaniel Harrod, 1765 ; and had Jacob, b. Dec. 2, 1766. 
Elizoheth, h. 1763 ; d, unmarried. Hannah ; m, John Sar- 
gent, formerly of Hubbardston. David. George. Polly ; 
m. John Boiee. Benjamin, jun., b. 1776. Mr, Bond lived in 
the north-west part of the town, in a house that stood near 



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34:0 HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

where his eon George afterwards lived and died. He d. 
1812, aged sixty-seven: his wife d. the same year, aged 
seventy. 

Bond, Jacob, son of the above, lived, for some years be- 
fore his death, in a house one mile north of the Meeting-house. 
Hia wife's name was Hannah. They had Jacob, b. Nov. 18, 
1795. Nathan D., b. Jan. 20, 1798. Nathaniel, b. Jan. 
1800. Joseph, b. April 6, 1807 ; and a dan., who married a 
Clark. Jacob lives in Oxford. The father d. May 20, 1838, 
aged seventy -one. 

Bond, Eehjamik, jun., brother of above, m. Betsey, of Kil- 
lingly. Conn. ; and had Oliver B., b. April 10, 1806. He 
studied medicine ; but d., just as he was commencing prac- 
tice, Sept. 11, 1832. William, h. Feb. 13, 1810. Sewall B. 
b. Aug. 12, 1812 ; a merchant in Boston. Mr. Bond lived 
in the house with his father. He d. July 4, 1813, aged thirty- 

BoND, John, m. Lydia Graves, January, 1740; and had John. 
2d, b. Jan. 8, 1741. Jacob, b. Jan. 18, 1743. Ephraim, 
Dec. 3, 1740. Mr. Bond d. Feb. 4, 1802, aged ninety-two. 

Bond, Jonathan, son of Edward, m. Sally Grossman, and 
lived where Silas Gleason, Esq., lately lived. Their children 
were Nancy. Edward. Oynthia. Jonathan, jnn., — a well- 
known musician, — m. Betsey, da\i. of Elijah Warren ; re- 
moved to the State of New York. Hannah. Mr. Bond died of 
an injury, which rendered the amputation of his foot neces- 
sary, July, 1810, 

Bond, Benjamin, 2d, lived on the Oxford Eoad, one milo 
south of the village, in a house next to the one recently occu- 
pied by Capt. SUas Gleason. His wife's name was Mary. 
Their children were Benjamin. Bichard, b. Dec. 11, 1747. 
Mary, b. Dec. 25, 1755; m. Daniel Tenny ; d. 1806. Eliza- 
beth, b. 1758; d. unmarried, 1813: known to all as "Aunt 
Betty ; " and in the notice of her death, in the " Massachu- 
setts Spy," it is said, " She was justly endeared to each of 



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HISTOllY or LEICESTER. 349 

her acquaintance for her many virtues and amiable qualities." 
Thomas and Bahy. He built the house in which he lived. 

Bond, Richard, son of above, lived in a house, a little north 
of where Mr. Eber Bond lives (on the Oxford Road), which he 
built in 1768. He m. Emma, dau. of Edward Bond, 1768; 
and had Experience, b. May 2, 1769, who d. unmarried, 1825. 
PoUy, b. March 6, 1770 ; m. Amos Whittemore. WiUiain, 
b. March 1, 1773 ; removed to Jamaica, Vt. Eiclmrd, jun., 
b. Nov. 1, 1774. Eher, b. 1784; m. Minerva Stetson, and has 
a family of children now living. I/ydia, b. 1778; and Sally, 
b. 1781, d. 1759. Mr. Bond was a shoe-manufacturer. He 
d. Sept. 17, 1819, aged aevonty-two. 

BOKD, RiCHARD, jun., son of above, m. Elizabeth, dau. of 
Carey Howard, who lived where Mr. Amos Whittemore died, 
on the Charlton Road. They had JeremiaA, b. Oct. 6, 1800; 
lives in Worcester. Louisa, b. Jan. 15, 1799 ; m. Rev. Otis 
Converse. Nardssa, b.' April 21, 1803 ; m. a CoUyer of Troy, 
N.Y, Zephaniah, b, Feb. 23, 1805; now lives in Pennsylva- 
nia. Mary, b. April 9, 1807; m. Hastings Bridges. Carey, 
b. Dec. 6, 1809 ; d. at the age of twenty-two. Lydta, m. Dex- 
ter Trask; b. March 28, 1814. Mr. Bond lived a little east 
of the house of the lato John King, Esq. His wife d. 1832: 
he d. 1838. 

Bond, Thomas, son of Benjamin, 2d; m. Sarah, dau. of James 
Harrod, 1779; and had Samweijb. April 2, 1784. Benjamin, 
b. June 29, 1787. .Eli, b. July 28, 1790. i>a«i/, b. March 28, 
1794. Maria, b. Feb. 23, 1799. 

Mr. Bond lived at the north foot of the Livermore Hill, 
where Joshua Lamb, Esq., has recently lived. He removed 
to Lanesborough. 

Bono, Baley, son of Benjamin, 2d; m. Elizabeth Charles 
of Brimfield, 1780; and had Clmrles, b. Feb. 18,1781. John, 
b. April 18, 1783. Linus, b. Aug. 28, 1785. 

Mr. Bond, with his family, removed to Brimfield, 

Blaie, William. His wife's name was Jane ; and his chil- 



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350 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

dren were Sarah, b. March 18, 1745. Hannah, b, Oct. 21, 
1746. 

Babbit, Samuel. Ilis first wife's namo was Abigail. They 
had Abigail, b. Sept. 8, 1762. His second, Bathsheba; and 
they had Silas, b. Oct. 1, 1764. San/ord, b. Dec. 17, 1765. 

Baldwin, Stephen, m. Elizabeth Baldwin, 1759 ; and had 
Elizabetk,h. Oct. 8, 1760. StepUn,h. Oct. 26, 1761. Samuel, 
b. April 4, 1765, and m. Rebekah Green. James, b. June 20, 
1767. John, b. Juno 25, 1769. 

Baldwin, Ebenezee, m. Phobo Baldwin, 1772 ; and had PAe- 
be, b. Dec. 7, 1774. Winni/red, b. Aug. 18, 1776. Mary, b. 
Aug. 26, 1778. Reh^ah, h. Jan. 22, 1781. Menezer, h. May 
31, 1783. James, b. March 3, 1787. Aaron, b. June 25, 1789. 

Baldwin, James. His wife's name was Lucinda. They had 
Jjticy, b. April 16, 1807. John S., b. Sept. 26, 1808. 

Baldwin, Benjamin. His wife's name was Betsey ; and had 
Roxana, b. Dec. 15, 1811, Horace, b. Nov. 24, 1813. Nancy, 
b. April 17, 1816. Dexter, b. Sept. 2, 1818. 

Bell, Aaron. The name of his wife was Isabel. They 
had Mary, h. March 19, 1721. Martha, b. April 1, 1724. Eli- 
%ur, b. July 8, 1726. Sarah, b. July 4, 1728. He lived 
where there is now a cellar, south of Mr. Robert Young's. 

Capen, Samuel, came from Dorchester and settled in Leices- 
ter about 1733, and remained there about five years, when 
he removed to Spencer. His wife's name was Deborah. His 
children, bom in Leicester, were Samuel, b. March 14, 1734. 
Elixahdli, b. Jan. 14, 1735 ; d. March, 1735. John, b. May 1, 
1737. Hannah, b. May 22, 1739. Edmond, b. July 16, 1740. 

Call, Samuel, m. Mehitabel Green, dau. of Capt, Nathaniel 
Green, in 1746. He came from Maiden. His children, born 
in Leicester, were Sartiud, b. Oct. 12, 1754. Mary, h. Nov. 4. 
1756. Elizabeth, b. March 25, 1758. Amos, b. Doc. 9, 1759. 
Winni/red, b. June 4, 1761. 

Mr. Call came from Louisburg, Cape Breton, to Leicester, at 
the time of his marriage. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 351 

Choatb, Isaac, came from Ipswich in 1773. He was a tan- 
ner, and lived upon the Blhot Farm, eo called, in the north part 
uf the town. His wife's name was Sarah. They had Mary, 
b. Feb. 10,1772. Jacob, b. Dec. 20, 1773. His second wife's 
name was Patty Craige, dau. of Dr. Eobert Craige. They had 
.HanMoA, b. Jan. 26, 1785. i*o%,born Nov.15,1787. George, 
h. July 1, 1789. 

Mr. Choate was a deacon of tlie Congregational Church. 
He, with his brother Francis, emigrated to the Woat. An 
account of their being made prisoners by the Indians will be 
found in another part of this work. 

Choate, Francis, brother of the above, was a cordwaincr, 
and lived on the same place with his brother. His wife's 
name was Betsey Lyon, m. 1780 ; and they had Sally, b. April 
20,1782. Susannah, b. March 20, 1784. John, b. March 6, 
1786. Betsey, b. May 18, 1788. Polly, b. Nov. 26, 1790. 
Francis, b. Dec. 9, 1792. 

Choate, Jonathas. His wife's name was Lois ; and had 
Lois, b. Oct. 6, 1792. 

Ceelby, Joseph, m. Sarah, sister of Col. Seth Washburn, 
Feb. 7, 1750; and had Joseph, b. Dec. T, 1751. Hannah, b. 
May 26, 1753. SaraJi, b. April 3, 1754. 

Mr. Cerley removed to Whitingham, Vt.; and d. 1817. 
CoNKLiN, EEKJAMiy, Eev., m. Lucretia Lawton, 1769 ; and 
had Joseph, b. April 25, 1770. Benjamin, jun., h. May 28, 
1772. Mkaheth, b. March 20, 1774 ; m. William Harris. 

COMKLiN, Benjamin, Jun., m. Rebekah Browning of Rutland ; 
and had Lucretia, b. Aug. 8, 1795; Benjamin; Austin F.; 
George B. ; and Henry, now of Worcester. Lucretia m. Wil- 
liam Hatch; Benjamin m. Hannah Woodcock. 

Cutting, Dakius, came from Rutland ; was the son of Abra- 
ham. He m. Sally Waite, September, 1789; and had Leiois, 
b. Jan. 2, 1790 ; who m. Rebekah, dau. of John Sargent, and 
removed to Worcester. He now lives in West Boylston. Ab- 
salom, b. Jan. 29, 1792. Alice, m. Daniel Hastings, 1817, and 



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352 HISTOKT OF LEICESTKR. 

removed to Petersham. Eliza, m. Elijah H. Trowbridge, 1818, 
and removed to the western part of New York. Charles, 
h. July 6, 1801 ; d. 1859, unmarried. WUliam D., h. Jan. 2, 
1804. (?eor^e, b. Mayll,1806. Sarah Ann, K'iiov.U, 1810. 
Otis, b. Jan. 23, 1813. 

Capt. Cutting once commanded one of the railitaiy compar 
nies of the town. He was by trade a hatter, and carried on 
hia bnsinesa in a shop next west of the tavern, and near the 
house which he built, and is now standing. After that (about 
1807) he removed to Cherry Valley, where he lived the re- 
mainder of his days. He died Sept. 18, 1830, aged sixty-six. 
He was a man of much pleasantry and good-humor, and was 
esteemed by his neighbors and friends. 

Cbaige, Robert, Dr., m. Martha, dau. of Dr. Thomas Green, 
in 1753; and had Nathan, h. June 11, 1754. He m. Sarah, 
dau. of Francis Choate ; la noticed among the soldiers of tlie 
Revolution ; hved a considerable part of his life in Spencer, 
near the line of Leicester, in the south-east part of the town ; 
and died April 2, 1852, aged almost ninety-eight, — a man of 
great worth and respectability : his son lives upon what was 
once the farm of Jonathan Newhall ; his daughter was the 
wife of Mr. Samuel Watson. Olive, bom Dec. 24, 1755. 
David, b. Oct. 16, 1757. Jemima, bom Sept. 19, 1759 ; 
m. Joseph Bemis. Abijah, b. July 3, 1761 ; removed to Au- 
burn. Martha, b. April 4, 1763; m. Isaac Choate. Amos, 
b. March 23, 1765. Eannah, b. Dec. 26, 1766; m. Samuel 
Stone of Oxford. Esther, b. Dec. 27, 1768. 

Dr. Craige is noticed among the physicians of the town. 
He lived in the south part of the town, where his son Amos 
afterwards lived, and where, after giring up the practice of 
medicine, he manufactured spinning-wheels. He d. 1805, at 
the age of seventy-five. Some persons may recall him as a 
seemingly old man, who nsed to attend meeting, and, on 
account of his defect in bearing, sat in the pulpit on Sun- 
days. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 353 

Ckaigb, Amos, son of the above, lived in tho south part of 
the town ; and d. in 1843, at the age of seventy-one. He was 
a farmer. His wife's name was Phebe. Their children wero 
John, b. May 6, 1800. Eliza, b. Sept. 18, 1803. 

CoNTBRSB, JosiAH, His first wife's name was Hannah. 
They had Sarah, b. November, 1729. His second wife was 
Eleanor Richardson, m. 1732. They had Mary, b. July 17, 
1733. Eleanor, b. March 21, 1734. 

The original Converse families, it is nnderstood, came from 
Woburn to Leicester. The next in order (John) is fenown to 
have come from there. He removed to ErookfieM. 

CONVEHSB, John. His wife's name was Abigail. They had 
Benjamin, b. May 20, 1732. Luke, h. Oct. 6, 1734. Robert, 
b. April 20, 1737. Abigail, b. March 5, 1739, He m. Mary 
Damon, 1751 ; and had Phebe, b. March 22, 1752. Daniel, 
b. March 2, 1754. Deliverance, h. Oct. 3, 1756 ; d. 1759. Eli- 
jah, b. Sept. 27, 1759. 

Mr. Converse was a blacksmith, and came from Woburn, as 
above stated. 

CoNVEBSE, Benjamin, son of John, m. Prudence Harrington 
of Spencer (1754) ; and had Phinehas, h. Dec. 16, 1754. Alnel, 
b. March 26, 1756. AbraJiam, b. Dec. 31, 1757. 

Mr. Converse lived in the north-west part of the town, 
where he built the house afterwards occupied by Azariah 
Eddy, but now taken down. 

Converse, Luke, son of John, m. Kuth Lamb of Spencer 
(1T59); and had Lydia, b. Feb. 10, 1760. Jude, b. May 17, 
1762. Utah, b. Oct. 31, 1764. Patience, h. March, 1767. 
Revhen, b. April 25, 1769. Esther, b. Nov. 20, 1771. Asajph, 
b. April 22, 1774. Tamar, b. Aug. 29, 1776. Uriah, b. March 
13, 1779. 

Mr. Converse at one time lived in Charlton, afterwards in 
Spencer; and, for several years before his death, lived in the 
house west of the mills at the Burncoat Pond, which he ma- 
naged. He d. June 10, 1810, aged seventy-six. 



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354: HISTOBY OF LEICESTER. 

Converse, Robert, son of John, m. Sarah Newton, May 24, 
1762; had DiTmh, b. Sept, 29, 1762. Jonas, b. Oct. 6, 1764. 

Converse, Joshua, m. Mehitabel Wicker, 1772 ; and had 
Francis; Chloe; Henry. 

Mr. Converse lived near the bouse where George Bond 
Hved, in the north-west part of the town, where there is now 
a cellar ; the house having long since disappeared. 

Converse, Reuben, bad SHas, b. July 17, 1801, Pamela, 
b. July 12, 1803. Th<ymas W., b. Feb. 10, 1805. 

Clark, Uriah, came to Leicester from Watertown, He 
married Euth Hastings; and had Mary, h. Aug. 25, 1744, 
Uriah, b. Aug. 10, 1746. Ruth, b. April 23, 1748. TJwmas 
and Richard, b. July 7, 1750. Uriah, h. Aug. 29, 1752. Bcr 
hdioh, b, Oct. 12, 1754. Daniel, b. Dec. 31, 1756. 

Mr. Converse's sister, Joanna, m. James Lawton of Leicos- 
ter. 

Damon, Daniel, His wife's name was Deliverance. They 
had Daniel, b, June 9, 1734. Mary, b. April 26, 1736. Eli- 
jah, b. July 31, 1738. 

Mr, Damon lived in the north part of the town, on the 
estate owned by Amasa Southwick. He owned land bound- 
ing upon "Tea Lane" (so called). Deliverance Damon — who, 
I suppose, was his widow — m, Robert Woodward in 1743. 

Dennt, Daniel, was the common ancestor of all of the 
name in Leicester, His removal to Leicester is mentioned in 
another part of this work. The Rev, Thomas Prince — the 
annalist of New England, and minister of the Old South 
Church in Boston — m. Deborah, sister of Mr. Denny, in 
Leicester, They came from Coombs, England, Mr. Denny's 
wife's name was Rebekah. They had Thomas, b. March 19, 
1724 ; who is spoken of in this work. Marry, h. April 22) 
1727 ; m. Nathan Sargent, 1750. Rd)ekah, h. April 10, 1729 ; 
m, John Lynde, 1755. Samuel, b. May 20, 1731, Sarah, b. 
May 5, 1733, 

Mr. Denny's brother — " Major Denny " — settled in 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTEE. 355 

Maine ; became a prominent citii^en there : at his death, was 
the Chief-Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for the 
County of Lincoln. 

Denky, Thomas, eon of the above, m. Tabitha Cutler of 
Grafton (1752); and hQ,d Daniel, b. July 22, 1753; d. 1754. 
Mr. Denny m., for his second wife, Mary Storra of Pomfret ; 
and had Thomas, b. May 15, 1757. Mar^, b. April 17, 1758; 
m. Joseph Sargent, father of Col. Henry. Tamison, b. Sept. 15, 
1760; m. Peter Webb, Esq., ofWindham, Conn., 1783; mother 
of Mrs. Isaac Southgate, and Thomas "Webb, Esq. (a lawyer 
in Warren, 0.}. 

Mr. Denny was a prominent patriot in the Province, in the 
early part of tho Eevolution, and is noticed in this work. He 
Kved upon the Denny Farm, which had been his father's. 

Denny, Thomas, son of the above, m. Lucretia, dau. of 
Phinehas Sargent (1791); and had Maria, h. May 16, 1793; 
m. James Smith, Esq., who is mentioned in another part of 
this work, and now lives in Philadelphia, — a wealthy, pubhc- 
spirited, and influential gentleman. Zucreiia, h. January, 
1795; m. Mr. Charles Bertody, an accomplished ship-master 
in the India trade : he retired from this several years before 
his death, and was living in New York ; where, having busi- 
ness in one of the West-India Islands, he sailed thence ; but 
was lost, on his return voyage, at sea, — the vessel never hav- 
ing been heard from; his life was one of singular incident 
and perU in the prosecution of his profession ; he had the 
confidence and esteem of all who knew him ; he left four 
children. TJiomas, b. June 29, 1797; was a cadet, educated 
at West Point ; and died in Virginia, while engaged upon a 
public work. Adaline, b. Nov. 26, 1799; m. Hev. Elizur G. 
Smith of Ogdensburg (1830), where she d. Sarah, b. May 26, 
1802; m. Col. James W. Ripley, of the United-States Army 
(1824). J^AmeiWS.,b.Nov.l5,1804. After the death of his 
brother, he took the name of Thomas; graduated at Harvard 
in 1823, and resides in New- York City. 



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3oG IllS'l'OliV OF LEICESTER. 

Col. Denny is among those who are spoken of more at, 
length in the body of this work. 

Denny, Samdbl, son of Daniel ; m. Elizabeth, dau. of Daniel 
Henahaw and sister of Gol. William, 1757. He lived in the 
north-weat part of the town, near IMoose Hill. He was an 
officer in the Revolutionary service, and is noticed in the body 
of this work. Their children were Daniel, b. Aug. 6, 1758 ; 
m. Nancy, dau. of Matthew Wataon, 1783 ; and lived in Cherry 
Valley till after the birth of Mizaheth and Daniel, when he 
removed to Worcester. Elizabeth, h. March 1, 1760 ; m. Tho- 
mas W. Ward, Eaq., of Shrewsbury. Sa/imid, b. April 21, 
1762; early went to Ohio; afterwards lived and died in 
Oakham. David, b. Jan. 7, 1764 ; removed to Vennont. 
Isaac, b. Nov. 27, 1765; removed to Vermont: his widow 
m. John Sargent, and d. 1859. WilUam, b. Sept. 17, 1767. 
Scdly, b. May 23, 1769 ; m. Stephen Harris, who afterwards 
moved to Norfolk, Va., where he left a family : his son Charles 
is an enterprising and public-spirited gentleman of that city. 
TlumoB, b. July 21, 1771 ; afterwards took the name of Na^ 
thaniel P., and is noticed in this work. Polly, b. Aug. 21, 1773 ; 
m. Rev. Mr. Miles of Grafton. Joseph, b. April 2, 1777. 

Mr. Denny m. a second wife, Phcebe Rich, in 1794; and a 
third, in 1809, — Sarah Meriam. 

Dbhnt,William, sonofthe above, m. Patty Smith ofPaxton, 
1788 ; and had Mkabeth, h. Sept. 10, 1789 ; m. Col. Henry Sar- 
gent. John A., b. April 30, 1791 ; lives in the west part of the 
town. Mary, b. Mar. 4, 1795 ; m. Aaron Morse, who formerly 
kept the hotel opposite the Meeting-house ; removed to New 
Haven. Cliarles, b. April 6, 1793 ; m. Miss Sibley of Spencer ; 
was engaged in trade in Leicester, and died there. 

Mr. Denny m., for his second wife, Ruth, dan. of Reuben 
Swan; and had Martha, b. Aug. 11, 1798; d. unmarried. 
Horace, b. April 2, 1800 ; d. under age of twenty-one. Caro- 
line, b. Dec. 10, 1801 ; d., unmarried, 1859. William, b. Dec. 
23, 1803 ; d. in infancy. Julia Ann, b. Oct. 22, 1805 ; m. Tho- 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 857 

maa Gilbert of North Brookfield. William, b. Aug. 8, 1807 ; 
died young. Catherine, m, Charles E. Miles, and lives in 
Worcester. Bachd 8., h. Aug. 21, 1809 ; m. Mr. Aycrs of 
North Brookfield. 

Mr. Denny m., for his third wife, Mrs. Upham, widow of 
Barnard TJphara, in 1827. He kept a tavern for many years 
in a house standing where Capt. H. Knights lives. After 
selling that, he removed to Spencer. He d. in North Brook- 
field. 

Denny, Nathaniel P., son of Samuel, m. Saliy, dan. of Reu- 
ben Swan, Nov. 18, 1798 ; and had Sarah, h. July 21, 1799. 
Ma/rcia, b. July 13, 1802; m. Alfred Willard, Esq.; removed 
to and lives in Indianapolis, Ind. Edward, b. May 19, 1806 ; 
is a manufacturer in Barre ; has been a member of the Execu- 
tive Council. Lucia, b. June 10, 1808 ; m. Joshua Ciapp, a 
merchant and extensive manufacturer, from whom the village 
of Clappville took its name : he d. in Boston, leaving a family 
of children ; she lives in Cambridge. Andrew, b, April 30, 
1812; ia a physician in Alabama. Heuben S., b. Juno 22, 
1814 ; has been an extensive woollen manufacturer in Clapp- 
ville: he now lives there, Thomas, h. Jan. 26, 1819; was a 
merchant in Boston, and d, unmarried. 

Mr. Denny m., for his second wife, Mary Denny of "Worces- 
ter. He soon after removed to Norwich, Conn. ; and d. in 
Barre. 

Denny, Joseph, son of Samuel, m. Phobe, dau. of Col. 
William Henshaw; and had Theodore K, b. Fob. 21, 1800; 
went to Indiana, m. and had a family, and d. there. Catharine 
H., b. July 25, 1301 ; m. Otis Sprague ; removed to the West ; 
lives in Milwaukie. Henry A., b. Oct. 10, 1802 ; m. Ehza E. 
Sprague, dau. of Capt. WOliam, 1825: now lives in Worces- 
ter. Joseph A., b. May 13, 180i ; m. Mary Davis of Eutland ; 
lives in Leicester; an acting magistrate; has represented his 
district in the Legislature, and is one of the most active and 
public-spirited citizens of the town. Ludnda S., b. April 3, 



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358 HISTORY OF I.E1CESTER. 

1806. Christopher C, b, Jan. 10, 1813. Phebe K, h. June 4, 
1815. 

Mr. Denny ra., for his second wife, Lucinda, dau. of Col. 
William Henshaw ; and had SaraJi H., b. Feb. 10, 18 17. Har- 
riet F., b. Deo. 13, 1818. BUzc^eth H., b. April 12, 1821. 

After Mr. Denny's death, his widow, in 1825, m. Samuel 
Daugherty, and removed to Eelchertown. Mr. Denny was a 
card manufacturer, and lived in the western part of the vil- 
lage, where Mr. John Loring lives. He was an active citizen ; 
for several years deputy-sheriff; and died in the midst of his 
usefulness. 

DuNBAB, John, His wife's name was Abigail. Their chil- 
dren: Lucif, h. April 26, 1741; m. Thomas Parker, jun., 
of Charlton. Sarah, h. Aug. 30, 1744; m. Samuel Parker of 
Charlton. Nahby, b. April 10,1746; m. Phinehas Sargent, 
1772. David, b. Feb. 22, 1747 ; m. Hannah Hammond, 1773 ; 
Thomas, b. Aug. 1, 1750 ; d. May, 1796. Abrter, b. April 9, 
1753. 

Mr. Dunbar d. March, 1802, aged ninety^wo, He lived 
in the north-east part of the town, where John Silvester 
lived. 

Dunbar, Thomas, son of the above, m. Luoretia Smith ; 
and had Thomas, b. Feb. 11, 1774. Nancy, b. Dec. 25, 1775. 
James, b. Sept. 19, 1779. Betsey, b. Jan. 29, 1782. Ckhe, 
b. Jan. 29, 1784. Luoretia, b. Jan. 13, 1786. Lucy, b. Oct. 28, 
1789. 

Mr. Dunbar d. May 4, 1796, aged forty-five. His widow 
m. Jonas Lamb of Spencer, Aug. 25, 1803. Mr. Dunbar kept 
a tavern in the house opposite the Mower House, on Mount 



DuNBAE, Abner, m. Lydia, dau. of Ebenezer Warren, Mar. 31 , 
1774 ; and had Sarah, b. Nov. 3, 1774 ; d. unmarried. 
Ehenezer, b. March 29, 1777 ; now lives in the south part of 
the town, east of Clappville. Lydia, b. May 6, 1779 ; m. Da- 
vid Legg, 1804. Abigail, b. April 9, 1782. Simeon, b. Oct. 27, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 359 

1785. Polly, b. Oct. 5, 1791 ; m. Artemaa Haven, 1814. Da- 
nid, b. June 13, 1794; went to New York. 

Mr. Dunbar was a mason by trade. 

Dis, Benjamin. His wife's name was Mehitabel. Their 
cbildi-en: Elijah, h. Marcb 5j 1744. Eunice, b. July 4, 1747. 
Sarah, b. April 7, 1750. Lois, b. Sept. 24, 1751. Joseph, 
b. July 7, 1753. Jonaihan, b. Dec. 20, 1754. Hannah, b. Sept. 
21, 1759. He lived in the north-west part of the town, on 
what is called Dix Hill ; and came originally from Water- 
town. 

Earlb, Ralph, was the ancestor of the families of the 
name in Leicester. He came from Ehode Island in 1717, and 
d. in 1757. He m. Mary Hiclts, and had William. Elizabeth, 
m. Job Lawton of Newport, John, b. Feb. 24, 1694; lived in 
Swansea. Mohert, b. 1706. Mary, m. Sheffield. Benjamin. 
Patience, m. Benjamin Richardson. 

Mr. Earle settled in the north part of the town, and lived 
where Gardner Wilson now hvos. 

Eable, William, son of above, m. Annah Howard ; and 
had WiUiam, b. April 27, 1714. Elizabeth, b. May 12, 1716; 
m. John Potter. Mary, b. Feb. 28, 1719; m. James Lawton, 
JTin. David, b. Aug. 16, 1721. Judith, b. Aug. 11, 1723; m. 
George Cutting. Mulph, b. Nov. 13, 1726. John, b. March 1, 
1729. 

Mr. Earle came to Leicester with his father, and lived at 
one time on the Amasa Southwick Place ; then on the Abel 
Green Place ; afterwards removed to Shrewsbury. 

Eaelb, Robert, son of Ralph, m., for his first wife, Mary 
Newhall ; and had Martha, b. Nov. 3, 1726 ; m. David Earlo, 
and afterwards Hezekiah Ward, 1768. Nathan, h. May 12, 
1728 ; m. Elizabeth, dau. of Benjamin Richardson. Mary, 
b. Aug. 10, 1730 ; m. Jonathan Sargent. Elimbdh, b. Oct. 18, 
1732; m. John Whittemore. George, b. March 3, 1735. 
Thomas, b. Aug. 27, 1737. Esek, b. Feb. 10, 1741. Moiert, 
b. Oct. 10, 1743. Lydia, b. Aug. 15, 1746; m. John Wilson. 



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360 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Marmaduke, b. March 8, 1749. For his second wife, he m. 
Hepsibah Johnson ; and had Phehe, b. Dec. 22, 1756. Timothy, 
b. March 13, 1739. 

Mr. Earle came to Leicester with his father ; owaed and 
lived upon the Mulberry-Gfrove Place. George was a captain 
in the Revolntionary service. He, with Nathan and Esek, 
removed to Vermont. Timothy died in the service in the 
Revohitionary War. Marmaduke Hved in Paxton. 

Earlb, Benjamin, son of Ralph, m. Abigail Ncwhall ; and 
hadWew/ioH, b. March 15, 1735; Antipas, b. Jtine 1, 1737. 
John, b. Nov. 18, 1740. Gardiner, b. Feb. 21, 1744. Mr. 
Earle lived on his father's horaestoad. Newhall removed to 
Vermont, 1774. 

Eaele, William, 2d, son of William, 1st, m. Mary Cutting; 
and had John, b. Dec. 3, 1740. Lois, b. Jan. 25, 1743 ; 
TO. Nathan Whittemore. Oliver, h. March 21, 1745. Heuhen, 
b. May 8, 1747. Jabez, b. Jan. 7, 1754. James, b. April 10, 
1757. Joel, b. July 6, 1759. 

Mr. Earle built and lived where his son Capt. James lived, 
a short distance north of where Pliny Earle lived. He d. 
1805, aged ninety-one. John removed to New York; Oliver, 
to Vermont; Reuben went to New York; and Joel, to Huh- 
bardston. Mr. Earle was a remarkably active man, and redo 
on horseback the day before he died. 

Earle, Ralph, son of William, 1st, m. Phebe Whittemore ; 
and had Ralph, b. May 11, 1751 ; distinguished as a painter, 
and noticed in the body of this work. Olarh, b. April 17, 
1753; lived in Paxton; was in Capt, Phinehas Moore's com- 
pany of minute-men in 1775. James, also an artist ; noticed 
in this work. 

Capt, Earle commanded a company in the Revolutionary 
service. He lived in what is known as the Joseph Penniman 
Place, in Paxton. 

Earle, Thoiias, son of Robert, 1st, m. Hannah, dan. of 
Nathaniel Waite, 1760 ; and had Jsahel, b. Dec. 21, 1761. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 361 

Hannah, m. Joseph Newhall. William, went to Baltimore ; 
d., unmarried, 1799. Sylvanus, b. March 28, 1773; id. Eunice 
Sonthgate, and removed to Ohio. Winthrop, b. May 5, 1775. 
Ehcta, b. April 27, 1778 ; m. Luther Nye of New Braintree. 
Betsey, m. Zenas Studley. PoUy, d. 1804. 

Mr. Earle resided in Cherry Valley, in the house where Mr. 
Heman Burr hves. He planted the fine rows of sycamores 
that stood in front of it, on the day of the battle of Lexington. 
He was distinguished for his mechanical skill and ingenuity. 
He manufactured a gun of exquisite workmanship for Col. 
"William Henshaw, in 1773 ; and when Col. Henshaw marched 
to Cambridge, in 1775, he took it into the service. Here it fell 
under the observation of Gen. Washington, who admired it 
so much, that he ordered one of the same pattern. Mr. Earle, 
having completed it, loaded and primed it, and placed it under 
water, all but the muzzle, during a night ; and, taking it out 
in the morning, discharged it as if it had just been loaded. 
He carried it to New York, where the army then lay, and 
delivered it personally to Gen. Washington ; having travelled 
the distance on foot, and carried it upon his shoulder. It 
received great commendation for its perfection of workman- 
ship. 

Eaklb, Egbert, son of Robert, 1 st, m. Sarah Hunt ; and 
had Pliny, b. Dec. 17, 1762. Jonah., b. Aug. 10, 1765. Silas, 
^a. May 26, 1767. UUzabeth, b. July 5, 1769 ; m. David Hoag. 
Fersis, b. Sept. 19, 1771 ; m. Edward Halloch. Henry, b. March 
13, 1774. L]/dia, b. Jan. 16, 1776; m. John Fry of Bolton. 
Timothy, b. March 2, 1778. Sarah, b. Jan. 1, 1781 ; m. Jona. 
than Pry of Bolton. 

Mr. Earle lived a little south of Pliny Earle's house, in the 
north part of the town. He was a man of great integrity, 
and much respected ; and the regard in which he was held 
was indicated by the friendly title by which he was generally 
known, — "Uncle Robert." 
Earle, Antjpas, son of Benjamin, Ist, m. Mercy Slade; 



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362 TITSTORY OF LEICESTER. 

and had Be-njamin, b. Sept. 27, 1761. Slade, h. Nov. 22, 
1764. Jonaihan, h. Dec. 22, 1767 ; was an extensive card 
manniactnrer ; owned the place, on Mount Pleasant, where 
N. P. Denny, Esq., afterwards lived ; and d., -unmarried, July 1, 
1813, — a man of active enterprise, and success in business. 
Abigail, b. April 7, 1774; m. George Read. Jolm, b. Oct. 13, 
1777 ; removed to Vermont. 

Mr. Earle lived in the north-east part of the town, about 
half a mile east of tlie Gardner Wilson Place. 

Earle, James, son of Williani, 2d, m. Deborah Sargent, dau. 
of Nathaniel; had Aaron, b. Aprii 22, 1781. Ncdhanid, 
b. July 23, 1783 ; d. 1859, in Leicester. Charlotte, b. May 3, 
1786 ; m. Asa Sargent. Arnold, b. Nov. 7, 1788. He m. 
Lydia Kelly; was by ti'ade a hatter; built the house now 
occupied by Denny and Bisco for a factory ; and removed to 
the West. Charles, b. June 8, 1790; lives in Worcester. 
Daniel,}}. Jan. 11, 1793; went to Ohio. Reuben, b. Sept. 8, 
1795. Homer, h. May 30, 1798; studied medicine, and setr 
tied in Ohio, — as did Reuben. 

Mr. Earle commanded one of the military companies in 
town in 1794, and was always called " Captain." He was a 
farmer ; upright, and respected by his townsmen. Aaron 
d, 1846. He lived in the house next south of Amasa South- 
wick's. 

Eable, Asahbl, son of Thomas, m. Persia Newhall. Had 
Clarissa, b. Sept. 29, 1786 ; m. John Thornton. Melinda, 
b. Feb. 28, 1788; d. 1815. Austin, h. May 16, 1792. Ch-mor 
dnda, b. Oct. 31, 1795 ; d. 1839. Addine, h. April 8, 1798 ; 
m. Gardner Wilson. EMra, b. Sept. 6, 1800 ; m. George 
Earle. Louisa, b. Nov. 13, 1802; d. 1819. Lydia, b. Dec. 9, 
1805; d. 1828. Austin removed to Kentucky. Mr. Earle 
had a good deal of his father's ingenuity and skill in me- 
chanism. He lived on the North-County Road, where Mr. 
Knowlton now lives. He d. April 9, 1837. 

Earle, Winthrop, son of Thomas, m. Persis Bartlett, and 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTEH. 363 

had Ahiira, b. Mar. 1, 1800; m. William Nowhall. Theodore, 
b. Nov. 13, 1801; d., unmarried, 1832. Otis I)., b. July 23, 
1805 ; went to New Haven ; d. unmarried, Dec. 15, 1830. 
Winthrop, h. July 2, 1807 ; d. Nov. 10, 1828. 

Mr. Earle was an active business-man, extensively engaged 
as a card-manufacturer ; much respected ; and his early death, 
in 1807, was greatly lamented. His widow m. Alpheus Smith. 
He lived in the west part of the Col. Denny House, lately 
altered by Dr. Daggett. 

Eable, Pliny, son of Robert, jun., m. Patience Euffum, 
1793 ; and had John Milton, h. April 13, 1794 ; has been a 
senator ; now lives in Worcester. Thomas, b. April 21, 1796 ; 
removed to Philadelphia ; was a lawyer ; and d. there, 1849. 
Lpdia, h. March 24, 1798 ; m. Anthony Chase, Esq., of 
Worcester. 8aroA, b. Apra 8, 1800 ; m. Charles Hadwin of 
Worcester. WMiam B., b. Dec. 20, 1802 ; now lives in Bos- 
ton. Lucy, h. May 7, 1805. EUm, b. June 8, 1807 ; m. Wil- 
ham E. Hacker of Philadelphia. Pliny, b. Deo. 31, 1809 ; 
a physician; resides in Leicester. 

Mr. Earle is noticed in other parts of this work. He was at 
one time extensively engaged, in connection with his brother 
Jonah, as a card-man\ifacturer. He was a man of much intel- 
ligence. He lived where Mr. Billings Mann now lives. His 
wife was a woman of strong and cultivated intellect, and their 
house was the seat of a generous hospitality. The daughter 
(Lucy) and the son (Dr. Pliny) alone remain of the family in 
town. Mr. Earle d. 1832; Mrs. Earle, in 1849. 

Earle, Jonah, son of Robert, jun., m. Elizabeth South- 
gate ; and had John Potter, b. Nov. 11, 1795. Nathaniel P., 
b. April 17, 1798; d. May 17, 1853. Amos 8., b. April 22, 
1800 ; d. January, 1853, leaving a family. RebekaJi P., b. May 
20, 1802 ; m. Joseph Anthony. 

Mr. Earle lived in the house near Mann and Marshall's fac- 
tory. He was a man of great integrity and benevolence. He 
d. Jan. 21, 1846. 



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364 lUSTORY 01.- LEICESTER. 

EiRLE, Silas, son of Robert, jun., m. Rachel Thornton; 
and had Hannah, b. March 16, 1796 ; m. William Keese of 
Ausable, N.T. ; d. 1859. Anna, h. Dec. 26, 1797 ; m. Harvey 
Chase of Rhode Island. George, h. Jan. 17, 1800; d. 1827. 
Mary, b. Feb. 9, 1802 ; d., unmarried, 1835. EUsha, b. April 
18,1804; d.l827. Soferi, b. May 18,1806; m. Anna M. Brown 
of Salem, and now resides near Philadelphia. Jtackel, fc. May 
11, 1808; d. 1836. Silaa, h. March 29, 1806; d. 1833. Ste- 
phen, h. April, 1813; d. 1836. Timothy, b. Aug. 14, 1820; 
lives in Valley Falls, R.I. Mr. Earle d. in 1842. He built 
the large house where Mr. Marshall lives, on the North- 
County Road; had a large farm, and carried on card-manu- 
facturing extensively and successfully, by which he accu- 
mulated a handsome estate. He once represented the town 
in the Legislature, and was highly esteemed and respected in 
the t-own. None of the family remain in Leicester. 

E.\RLE, Henry, son of Robert, jun., m. Martha Afdrich for 
his first wile, and had one child. His second wife was Miriam 
Fry. They had Nardssa, b. May 3, 1800 ; m. George Earle, 
and afterwards John Mann. Melisssa, b. April 1, 1803; 
m. Nathan Babcock, and afterwards Blaney Palmer. SaraJi, 
b. April 8, 1805 ; m. Reuben Randall. Henry W., b. 1810. 
Mr. Earle m. the widow of Timothy Earle for his third wife ; 
and had Timothy K. and Thomas, h. Jan. 11, 1823. Oliver K, 
b. Sept. 8, 1824. All of whom live in Worcester. 

Mr. Earle built a large h ouae upon the North-County Road, 
west of the Asahel Earle Place, but gave it up several years 
before his death. He d. iu 183T. 

Earle, Timothy, son of Robert, jun,, m. Ruth ICeese ; and 
had Anna K., b. Oct. 12, 1806 ; m. Samuol H. Colton, of 
Worcester. Edward, b. Feb. 10, 1811 ; hvea in Worcester. 
Mary B., b. Feb. 5, 1819 ; m. Jonathan Slocum. 

Timothy Earle was a card-manufacturer ; a man of active 
enterprise and energy. He lived in a large house, which he 
built, about a quarter of a mile south of Pliny Earle's. He 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 365 

d, ill 1819, in the midst of a prosperous and snccessM busi- 
ness, at the age of forty-one. 

Earle, Benjamin, son of Antipas, had Blade, b. Aug. 9, 1802 ; 
d, 1849. Benjamin, b. Ang. 6, 1804 ; lives in Leicester. 
Elizabeth, b. Dec. 25, 1829 ; m. Gutlor Snow. Mr. Earle lived 
several years upon the farm now belonging to the town. He 
d. in 1834. 

Eable, Slade, m. Elizabeth Earle. Had Antipas, jun. ; 
b. Nov. 13, 1787 ; d. April 30, 1828 ; m. Amy Chase. Joseph, 
b. Dec. 28, 1788 ; m. Lydia Fowler. Mary, b. June 29, 1791 ; 
m. Smith Arnoid. Waldo, b. Oct. 11, 179(! ; m. Sarah Aldrieh. 
All except Antipas removed earl}' from Leicester: he lived 
at the Ralph Earle Place. 

If it were not for the known migratory habits of the peo- 
ple of New England, it might seem remarkable, that of the 
above nineteen families, comprising more than a hundred 
individuals who have lived or been born in Leicester, not 
more than half a dozen of the name remain in town. 

Flint, Austin, Dr., m. Elizabeth Henshaw, 1785; and had 
Joseph H., b. April 20, 1786; he was an eminent physician; 
lived in Petersham, afterwards in Northampton, and, for seve- 
ral years before his death, in Springfield ; d. at Leicester, 
Dec. 11, 1846. Sally, b. June 5, 1787; m. Calvin Spear of 
Boston. Edward, b. Nov. 7, 1789. Elizabeth O., b. May 3, 
1792 ; m. John Clapp. Waldo, b. Sept. 4, 1794; is noticed in 
this work ; President of the Eagle Banli, Boston, Laura, 
b. Nov. 1, 1796. 

Dr. Mint is noticed in the body of this work. 

Flint, Edward, m. Harriet Emerson of Norwich, Tt., No- 
vember, 1817 ; and had CharloUe K, b. June 10, 1821. Sally, 
b. Oct. 12, 1822. Both d. nnmarried. John S., b. March 6, 
1824 ; a successful physician in Eoxbury. 

Dr. Flint is noticed in this work. 

Fay, Ebenezbb. His wife's name was Sarah. They had 
Sarah, b. Jan. 3, 1743, 



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366 



HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 



Fay, David. His wife's name was Jemima. They had 
Hannah, h. June 26, 1748. Bamd, b. Dec. 23, 1741). Ebene- 
zer, b. Dec. 5, 1751. Jemima, h. March 31, 1754 ; in. Peter 
Buck of Worcester, 1779. 

Jedidiah Newton m. Jemima Fay in 1758, who was proba- 
bly widow of David. The family aoom to have disappeared 
from the records after that time. 

Green, Samuel, was the first of the family of tliis name 
who settled in Leicester, and may be considered the Nestor 
of this little commnnity. The part of the town where he 
settled is now called Greenville. He was born in Maiden, 
1670; and came to Leicester, a few months, it is believed, 
before Mr. Denny and the Sonthgates. He married Elizabeth 
Upham, dan. of the ancestor of the early families of that 
name in Leicester; and had Blixabefk, b. 1693; m. Thomas 
Richardson, an early settler in Leicester. Eebeka}i,\i. 1695; 
m. Samuel Baldwin of Leicester, ButJi, m. Joshua Nichols 
of Leicester. TTiomaa, b. 1699. Lydia, m. Abiathar Vinton ; 
and afterwards Samuel Stower, who came from Maiden to 
Leicester. Barskeba, m. Elisha Newers. Abigail, m. Henry 
King of Leicester. Anna, m. Bbenezer Lamb. That he wss 
regarded as a man of intelligence and worth, is shown by the 
early action of the town. At the first recorded meeting of 
the inhabitants, he was chosen first selectman, moderator, first 
assessor, and grand juror; and he continued to hold offices 
of trust and responsibility in the town as long as he lived. 
He early became a proprietor of the township ; and was one 
of the committee of the proprietors, in 1722-3, to select the 
half which should be conveyed to the settlers, and to convey 
the same. This he did in 1724. In that deed he is named as 
proprietor of lots No. 28-31, two mill-lots, and one other mill- 
lot in connection with his son-in-law, Thomas Richardson. 
He afterwards purchased the whole of this lot, and erected 
a gristmill and the first sawmill in the town upon them, upon 
the site on which the mills in Greenville now stand. In 1727, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 36T 

he was the owner of nine hundred and twenty-nine acres of 
land in the town. 

He was the first captain of the first military company 
raised in the town; an honorable mark of distinction, which 
is carefully recognized in all documents and records after- 
wards in which he is named. He built and occupied the 
house opposite the Baptist Meeting-house in Greenville; and 
continued to be a leading man in the town until his death, 
Jan. 2, 1736, at the age of sixty-five. The influence of the 
character and example of the first settlers of such a town, 
npon the little community growing up around them, is often 
felt through successive generations ; and, among those to 
whom the town of Leicester owed its progress and character, 
the memory of Capt. Green ought ever to be held in grato- 
fnl respect. 

Green, Thomas, son of the above, was a more prominent 
and leading man than his father. He is noticed at length 
among the clergymen of the town. He m. Martha, dau. of 
Capt. John Lynde of Maiden, and sister of one of the early 
settlers of the town, January, 1726; and had Sa-mud, b. 1726. 
Martha, b. 1727; m. Dr. Robert Craige. Isaac. Thomas, 
b, 1733, ^An, b. 1736; a physician; removed to Worcester ; 
became eminent in his profession ; and had a son and grand- 
son, of the same name and profession, in Worcester. Solomon. 
Mizaheth,m. Eev. Dr. Foster. Mrs. Green d. June 20, 1780 : 
Dr. Green d. Aug, 19, 1773, Among the descendants of Dr. 
Green is Mrs. Mary H, Pike, authoress of " Ida May," a work 
of fiction of considerable reputation. She is the wife of F. A, 
Pike, EscL-, of Calais, Me. 

Grbem Samuel, 2d, son of Dr. Thomas (sometimes called 
" Captain," as he was at one time in command of the military 
company of the town, but more generally known as " Dea- 
con"), m. Zerviah Danaof Ashford, Conn., for his first wife, and 
a Mrs. Fisk of Sturbridge for his second. His children were 
Samuel, 3d, b. November, 1757. Elijali, b. May 3, 1760; en- 



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368 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

tered the semce in the Eevolutioiiaiy War ; joined the army 
at Boxbury; and died in camp, December, 1775, at the age of 
fifteen. 

Oapt. Green was the one appointed to notify the company 
of minute-men in case of alarm; and did so on the 19th April, 
1775, as stated in this work. He accompanied his son when 
he joined the army at Eoxbury, and remained in that vicinity 
till his death. In 1777, he represented the town with Col. 
Washburn in the General Court, He was deacon of the 
Baptist Church for more than fifty years, and one of the main 
pillars of the society. After the removal of Dr. Foster, he 
had charge of and supplied the pulpit until a successor was 
appointed. He lived in the house built by his grandfather, 
opposite the Meeting-house in Greenville. He died Feb. 20, 
1811, at the age of eighty-four; and hia wife, June 28, 1797, 
aged sixty -five. 

Greek, Isaac, sou of Dr. Thomas, was a physician, and is 
noticed in another part of this work. He m. Sarah Howe, 
and had Sarah and Mary. 

Green, Thomas, 2d, son of Dr. Thomas, m. Hannah Fox, 
and afterwards Anna Hovey of Sutton; and had Elifis, b. 
Jan. 25, 1756 ; he m. Mary ■ in 1782, and removed to Cam- 
bridge, Vt. Thomas, b. 1757: he became a, physician, and 
lived in Auburn, then Ward; d. 1812, aged fifty-five. Isaac, 
b. 1759; was also a physician; was in the Revolutionary 
service ; and removed to Windsor, Vt., in 1788. He m. Ann 
Barrett, and became a wealthy and influential citizen of that 
town. Abiatliar, b. 1760 : he, too, was in the service in 
the Revolution; he removed to Farmington, Me.; d. 1831, 
aged seventy -one. Asa. Han-ncfJi, m. Howard Putnam. 
John and Sebekah, twins. Daniel, b. 1778 ; is a physician 
in Auburn. 

The father was a farmer, though not a very thrifty one. 
He once owned the farm, in the south part of the town, where 
Elijah Thayer formerly lived. After that, he lived in various 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 369 

places, and, at one time, in the house that stood on Flip Lane. 
He died in Auburn, October, 1813, aged eight)'. 

Geeen, William, lat, was b. in Maiden in 1683. His father 
was cousin of Gapt. Samuel. He m, Sarah Sprague, a branch 
of the same family which settled in Leicester ; and had Mary, 
b. 1710. SaraJi, b. Sept. 13, 1711 ; m. Hezeldah Ward, Esq., 
of Leicester, 1737. Sepaibah, h. June 13, 1714. WUliam, 
b. July 6, 1716. I»rml, b. 1721. Gharhs, b. 1724. Nafmm, 
b. 1729. Mary, b. 1731. 

jilr. Green removed to Leicester about 1719 or '20. He 
purchased Lot No. 36, and must have built the house thereon, 
recently occupied by the late John King, Esq. At the first 
recorded town-meeting, he was elected a tithing-man; then 
an office of consequence, especially in the matter of Sunday 
police. He held sundry other offices of trust in the town. 
He d. subsequently to 1755. The mother of Mr. Green m. 
Capt. John Lynde of Leicester for her second husband. 

Green, Nathaniel, brother of the above, was b. in Maiden, 
1689 ; and m. Elizaboth Sprague, sister of the wife of his 
brother. He lived in Stoneham previous to his removal to 
Leicester in 1723. Their children were Elizabeth, b. 1714; 
m. Benjamin Saunderson of Leicester, 1737. Winnifred, b. 
1716; m. Benjamin Baldwin of Leicester, 1749. Naihaniel, 
b. 1721. Meliitabd, b. 1724; m. Samuel Call of Leicester, 
1746. Phinekaa, b. 1728. Senjamin, b. 1731. 

Mr. Green was captain " of the first foot company in Leices- 
ter " in 1743. I copy from the work of Mr. Green, of which 
I have made liberal use in these genealogies, an order 
addressed to Capt. Green ; which shows that it was no holiday 
matter to command a military company at that time. The 
conquest of Louisburg took place in 1745. The next year, 
the whole of New England was alarmed by the intelligence, 
that an immense armament had reached Nova Scotia from 
Prance, on its way to attack the Colonies, and destroy Bos- 
ton. This led to the following order from Col. Chandler: — 
i7 



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370 HISTOKY OP LEICESTER. 

" Sir, — Tliis moment I ruccivt'd tliu G{)veniijr's express ; and, 
purauant thereto, jou are reiiuireil, in his majesty's name, on jour 

utmost peril, to draw out of your military ward twenty-five men, com- 
pletely armed, and furnished wilh ammunition and fourteen days' pi-o- 
vision, and inarch them, without the least delay, to Worcester, and 
from thence to Boston ; a French invasion being every moment ex- 
pected. I say, Fail at your peril! 

"John Ciiandlek, Col. 
" "WoRCESTEU, Sept. 22, 174G. 

"Either you or Capt. Whittemore, with two more commissioned 
officers, must go ; and don't fail. 

" In his Majesty's service, 
Capt. Nathaniel Gkeen, in Leicester." 

Capt. Green d. Sept. 27, 1774. 

Green, Nathaniel, son of the above, was b. in Stoneham ; 
came to Leicester, vpith his father, in 1723 ; m, Tabitha 
Prentice ; and had Leinud, b. 1749 ; lived in Spencer. Susan- 
nail, b. 1751. TabUha, b. 1753. Naihanid, b. 1755. Lt/dia, 
b. 1758. John, b. 1760; was a minister in Coleraine, and d. 
1800. Mii/us, b. 1762 ; went to Calais, Vt. ; d. 1844. Mary, 
b. 1764. Okloe, b. 1766 ; m. Adams Wheelock. Ehenezer, b. 
1769 ; i-emoved to Belchertown; d. 1848. 

This Mr. Green was known as " the Rev. ; " having been 
ordained as a Baptist minister after he was forty-three years 
old. In the latter part of his life, he removed to Charlton ; 
where he d., 1791, at the age of seventy. 

Geebn, Piiihkhas, brother of the above. His wife's name 
was Judith. They had John, b. 1759 ; removed to Ohio. 
Pliny, b. 1761. Silas, 1762. Judith, 1765 ; d. unmarried. 
P}i£be, b. 1766. Daniel, 1768. Mmij, 1770. 

He d. in 1776, at the age of forty-seven. He is spoken of 
as a " teacher of penmanship." There was a Phinehas Green, 
jun., in the same company with the above, at the battle of 
Bunker Hill; but I am unable to ascertain his parentage, 

;n, Bekjamin, brother of the above ; m. Lucy Marston of 
■ in 1754; and had Benjamin, 1775, who removed to 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 371 

Spencer. Lucy, 1757. Asa, 1761 ; removed to Deer Isle, 
Me., 1797. Elisabeth, 1763. Olive, 1766. Hannah, 1768. 
Lydia, 1770. 

After the births of his children, Mr. Green removed to 
Spencer. 

Geees, Sa3£0bl, son of Deacon Samuel ; m. Hannah Kin- 
ney of Sutton. Had BUjaA, 1780 ; d. 1796. Lucretia, July, 
1783; m. D. Fairbanks, and d. 1820. Sophia, May, 1785; 
m. John King, Esq. ; d. 1854. Samuel D., 1788 ; entered 
Brown University; left college in his senior year; now lives 
in Cambridgeporfc. William K., 1790; lived in Woodstock, 
Conn. Radassah K, 1792 ; m. Aaa Mann ; removed to Canada 
West, and d. there. 

Mr. Green lived in the house next west of the mills in 
Greenville, and ones kept a tavern there. He removed late 
m life to Pembroke, N.Y.; and d. there, 1832, at the age of 
seventy-four. 

Green, William, son of William, 1st, m. Eebecca Tucker 
of Milton, 1737. Had Jod, 1738 ; who, I suppose, was the 
Joel Green that commanded a company in Col. Larned's regi- 
ment, in the Continental service. WilMam, 1742. Jeduthan, 
1744. , Ira, 1746. Sebecca, 1749. Asenath, 1750; m. Isaac 
Center, 1772. Jesse, 1752. OUmr, 1754. Jeruiah, 1756. 
Jehiel, 1758, There was a Jockton Green, who is believed to 
have been the son of the above-named William, and probably 
was born in 1740. 

Mr. Green was a farmer, and lived where Amos Whitte- 
more died, formerly the house of Andrew Scott, on the 
Charlton Koad. 

Geeen, Nahum, brother of the above, m. Dorcas Sanger of 
Woodstock ; and had Mary, 1751 ; Uzziah, 1753 ; Irijah, 1756 ; 
Mercy, 1758; Jeruiah, 1760; Amasa, 1762; Pamda, 1764; 
Jared, 1765; Zerviah, 1767; Nahum, 1770. 

Mr. Green was a farmer, and lived upon a part of his father's 
farm ; where, as I suppose, Eiehard Bond, jun., lived and died. 



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372 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Gbbbn, Israel, brother of tfio above, was maiiied, and had 
three children in Leicester ; removed to Petersham, and then 
to Hubbardston ; d. about 1790. Had four sons in the battle 
of Bunker Hill,- — ^ one of them killed, and the other mortally 
wounded, in that battle. Tlio third, then a lieutenant, was 
Icilled at the battle of Monmouth. The fourth was in tlie 
battles of White Plains, Bermiogton, and Saratoga, and in 
the campaign in New Jersey, — the only one of the four who 
survived the service. 

Geebn, Jockton, son of William, 2d, as is believed, m. 
Esther Newhall, dau. of Jonathan, 1762. Had Estliefr, 1763; 
m. Elkanah Haven, 1785. Jonat/ian, 1765; Persis, 1768; 
Francis, 1770; Josiah, 1772; Salmon, 1775; EU, 1778. 

Mr. Green lived in the house east of the late John King, 
Esq., where Richard Bond, jun,, lived and died. 

Geeen, Jabbz, came from Maiden about 1750. His grand- 
father was brother of the first Samuel who came to Leicester. 
His wife's name was Mary; and they had Ja&ez, June 13, 
1743. ifary, Jan. 7, 1749. ^aiMn, went to Gardner, Dec. 27, 
1752. Joseph, Dec. 30, 1754; went to Vei-mont. Stephen, 
Aug. 7, 1757; known as " Deacon." EUzaheth, March 8,1702. 
HannaA, Dec. 28, 1764. JM, September, 1767. 

Mr. Green lived in the north-east part of Leicester, where 
his son Abel lived for many years. He was a farmer ; and 
d. Oct. 1, 1806, aged eighty-eight. 

Geeen, Jabez, son of the above, m, Lucy Kent of Leicester, 
1764; and had /?aji«aA ; m. John White of Leicester. Zolvah; 
who lives on the same farm where his father lived, in the 
north-west part of the town. Josiali and Jabez; who re- 
moved to Spencer, and are now living there. 

Gkeen, Abel, brother of the above, m. Eunice Wicker, 
whose mother was sister of Seth Washburn. Had Harriet, 
1790; Eunice, 1795; Julia, 1797; Laura, 1800. 

Mr. Green lived in the north-east part of the town; a 
farmer; d. 1743, aged seventy-six. 



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HISTORY Of LEICESTER. 373 

Gbeen, Joel, aon of William, 2d. His wife's name was 
Chloe. They had Joel, 1762; Ghhe, 1764; Seth, 1767. 

G-EEEN, Jesse, brother of the above, m, Grace Hall, August, 
1777. Had Martin, 1779; Jacob, 1780; Sarah, 1783; Iddo, 
1785. 

There were several other tarailies of Green ; some of whom, 
after marrying and settling in Leicester, removed from the 
town. Among them, Elias, son of Thomas, 2d, above men- 
tioned. He m. Mary Scott of Leicester, 1782; and had 
Ihmisin, Oct. 27, 1784; d. 1808. Sylmnus, April 6, 1787. 
In 1796, he removed to Cambridge, Vt. 

There was a Thomas Green, a hatter, who came hero about 
1807 or '8, and raised up a pretty large family. 

Gbeen, Solomon, son of Dr. Thomas, m. Elizabeth Page, 
and lived in what used to be called the Wilby Cottage, in the 
south part of the town. His children were Timothy ; Solo- 
mon; John; Archdaus; Lynde; Isaac; Mary. 

The Greens have been the most numerous of the Leicester 
families ; and the number of those whose names are found on 
the rolls of Eevolutionary service furnish the strongest proof 
of the energy which characterized them as men, as well as 
the patriotic influences under which they were educated : 
and yet, like so many of the early famihes of the town, they 
have almost all disappeared ; while their descendants may be 
found scattered all over the Union. 

GoDDAED, Rev. David, m. Mercy Stone of Watertown. Had 
Daniel, Sept. 19, 1738. WiUiam, April 27, 1740. Mercy, 
Nov. 10, 1741. Edward, Dec. 12, 1742. Mary, Oct. 16, 1744. 
Susannah, Feb. 17, 1747. Mercy, Feb. 3, 1750. 

The family disappear after the death of the Rev. Mr. God- 
dard. 

GitATON, John, m. Abigail Baldwin, 1772. Had Mowena, 
May 3, 1773. Tryphena, Sept. 23, 1774. John, Feb. 17, 
1777. Cyrus, April 29, 1779. Alvin, April 20, 1781. Abi- 
gail, May 1, 1783. HannaJt P., Aug, 27, 1785. 



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374 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Mr. G-raton came from Spencer. The family were originally 
from Medford. He lived a little west of Johu Parker's house, 
in the south-west part of the town. Mr. Graton d. 1827, 
aged seventy-eight. 

Gage, Jonathan. His wife's name was Mary. They had 
Levi, b. Aug. 9, 1786; Silas, 1788; PoUy, 1790; BrigMm, 
1793. 

Mr, Gage lived in the north-west part of the town, where 
Dr. Parsons once lived, on the road leading by Joseph 
Whittemore's, opposite the road leading to Zolva Green's. 
The house is removed. 

Gtlmorr, Adam, m. Martha, dau. of James Harwood, 1788. 
Had James, March 9, 1799 ; d. young. David, Jan. 22, 1783. 

Mr. Green lived in various places in town ; a part of the 
time, on Mount Pleasant, in the small house opposite the place 
once Major Swan's. He d. 1808; his wife, 1834. 

Haven, Elkahah, was the son of Elkanah ; b. in Framing- 
ham. He m. Esther, dau. of Jockton Green, Nov. 24, 1785. 
The father d. in 1794 in Leicester. The children of Elkanah, 
jun., were Fersis, b. 1788; m. Daniel Muzzy. Jockton G., 
b. 1789. Artemas, b. 1793. Harriet, b. 1796; m. Asahel 
Barber of Pramingham. Lucetta, 1802; m. George W. ITart- 
we_ll, Oxford. Jokn. 

Mr, Haven lived on the County Road, in the south-west 
part of the town. 

Haewood, Nathaniel, removed from Lunenburg to Leices- 
ter. His wife's name was Hannah, He lived in a house 
opposite where William Silvester lives. He was a soldier in 
the French wars; afterwards commanded the military com- 
pany of the town ; was a respectable farmer, and seems to 
have been a man of considerable influence in the town. His 
children were James; Nathaniel; Jesse, 1750; Mary; Uliza- 
hetli; Lucy; ffitTmoA, — though not born in the above order; 
there being no record of their births. A part or all of them 
were born in Lunenburg. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTim. 375 

Nathaniel went to North Brookfiiild ; Jesse moved to the 
West ; Mary m. Col. Seth Washburn, 1750 ; Elizabeth m. Ben- 
jamin Bond, 1765 ; Hannah m. Micah Whitney of " Narraghan- 
set, No. 6 " (Templeton), 1759 ; Lucy m. Jonas Gleason, 1773. 
The name in the records is sometime Sarwood, and sometimes 
Harrod. It has been used in both forms in this work. 

Habwood, James, son of the above, m. Martha Barnes, 1755. 
Had Martha, March 4, 1756; m. Adam Gilmore. SaraJi, 
March 5, 1758; m. Thomas Bond. Hannah, July 31, 1759; 
d., unmarried, 1818. Sebekah, May 16, 1761; d., unmarried, 
1840. Mary, Feb. 8, 1763 ; m. Isaac Very. EliphaU, b. 
1764. Susannah, m. a Hill. James. Nathaniel. 

Mr. Harwood lived in a house, now removed, that stood in 
the pasture west of Eber Bond's. He d. 1803; his widow, 
1817, aged eighty-eight. 

Harwood, Nathaniel, mn of Capt. Nathaniel, m. Sarah 
Grimes of New Salem, 1770; and had Betsey, 1773; m. Asa 
Scott of Ward. Nathanid, 1775. 

Hammond, Ebenezer. His wife was Hester. Had Ebenezer, 
Aug. 17, 1744; Samuel, 1746; Nathanid, 1748. Both d. 
1754. 

Hammond, Jonas. His wife's name was Elizabeth. Had 
Margaret, July 29, 1740; James, Dec. 20, 1742; Elizabeth, 
April 13, 1745; Mary, Feb. 19, 1747; Hannah, May 30, 
1751 ; Lydia, Nov. 25, 1753. Hannah m. David Dunbar, 
1773. 

Habey, Samuel. His wife's name was Sarah. They had 
SaroJi, March 28, 1746; Samuel, Aug. 19, 1747; Zaccheus, 
1751; Mary, 1755; Jerusha, 1757. 

Hasey, John, m. Tabitha Thomas of Leicester, Nov. 22, 
1748. Had TaUtha, 1749 ; m. Abijah Stowors. Elizabeth, 
m. Phinehas Barton, 1753. 

Hoprass, Thomas. Had Ju^,y, b. Aug. 4, 1716; Eli-mUth, 
Jan. 13, 1718; Sarah, April 15, 1721. Elizabeth m. Baley 
Bond. 



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376 HISTORY OF LEICIlS'i'KR. 

Mr, Hopfeins'a wife's name was Sarah. He lived on the 
Oxford Road, where Silas Gleason recently lived. 

Henky, Robekt. His wife's name was Susannali. They 
had Hannah, 1766 ; Robert, 1772 ; Mary, 1774 ; Martha, 1777 ; 
William ¥., 1779; Elizabeth, 1782; Foster, 1784. He lived 
npon the farm, owned by Robert Young, which Robert Henry 
(probably his father) purchased in 1728. He removed with 
his family from Leicester to Charleston, N.H. (No. 4), in 1794, 
His dau. Hannah m. Ezra Silvester, 1787. 

Heesby, Peleg. His wife was Lucy. Had Pdeg, May 6, 
1764; Samuel, June, 1766. Lived in what is now called 
Cherry Valley. His house stood whore Capt. Cutting lived 
and died. 

Hersey, Nathan. His wife was Mary. They had Thomas, 
b. March 24, 1771 : is noticed elsewhere as a physician in 
town. Mr. Hersey lived where Calvin Hersey afterwards 
lived, in the west part of tJie town. The house was after- 
wards burnt. 

Hersey, Elijah. His wife's name was Beulah. They had 
Aclma, 1782 ; Harvey, 1784 ; Elijali, 1786 ; Nathaniel S., 1788 ; 
Sarah, 1791. Mr. Hersey lived where Capt. Trask afterwards 
did, in the west part of the town. He built the house. 

Hersey, Maktin, m. Mercy Brown, Sept. 24, 1789, Had 
Betsey, Aug. 10, 1790; Hiddah, 1792; Isaac B., 1794. He 
lived where J. A. Denny lives. 

Hersey, Calyin. His wife's name was Sally. They had 
Thankful, 1792 ; m. Uriel Johnson. Charles, 1794; went to 
Canada West. Austin, 1797. MaHha P., 1799; m. a God- 
dard. Clarissa Alvira, 1801. Zephaniah S. M., 1805 ; went 
to Canada West. He lived in the house next cast of the 
Capt. Trask Place, 

HuBBAED, Daniel, came to Leicester from Spencer in 1750 ; 
was a native of Worcester. He m. Elizabeth Linde, 1747; 
and had Jonathan, 1750 ; m. Elizabeth Parsons, dau. of Dr. 
Parsons, and hved in Paxton. Daniel, 1753. Elizabeth, 1757; 



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HISTOIIY OF LEICESTEK. 377 

m. Samuel Choever. John, 1761. Benjamin, 1763. Molly, 
1766; m. Joseph Thurston. Esther, 1768; m. Aaron Moore. 

Mr. Hubbard d. 1805, aged seventy-nine. He lived where 
his son Daniel once lived. 

Hubbard, Dakiel, son of the above, m. Mary Sargent, dau. of 
Nathaniel, Feb. 22, 1776 ; and had Jonathan; m. Betsey Kent ; 
removed to Vermont. Betsey, m. Barnard Upham, 1802. 
Sally, m. John Sprngue, 1801. Mary, m. a Brigham. Persis, 
m. Lot Hancock, 1816. Nancy, b. 1784; m. Silas EuJlard; 
d. 1839. Catherine, b. 1795; went, with hor father, to Ver- 
mont. 

Capt. Hubbard lived one mile north of the Meeting-hoaae. 
He was a farmer, and, for several years, steward of the Aca- 
demy ; a man much respected. He once commanded one of 
the military companies of the town. In the latter part of his 
life, he removed to Wallingford, Vt, ; where he died. 

HoNEYwoOD, Dr. John, is noticed among the physicians of 
the town. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of Judge Steele (1761); 
and had St. John, 1763 ; noticed among the college gradu- 
ates. Mary, 1766 ; m. Nathaniel Lyon. Elizabeth, 1769 ; 
m. Samuel Allen, Esq., many years Treasurer of the County 
of Worcester. Henry, 1771. 

I^OBABT, John, b. 1768, in Abington ; m. Charlotte Spear, 
1788, He was, by trade, a blacksmith. He came to Leicester 
in 1793 ; purchased, and for many years carried on, the pub- 
lic-house opposite the Meeting-house, with general favor and 
success. After that, about 1816 or '17, he built the house 
where Mr. Hobart lives, and lived in it till his death. He 
represented the town several times ; was often in town-office, 
and held a commanding influence in town. His children were 
Relief, h. 1789. MeMtaM, 1790; m. Roswell Sprague, Esq., 
now of New York. John, 1792 ; Polly, 1795 ; b, in Leicester. 
Billings, 1797. Otis, 1800. Louisa, 1802; m. Emory Drury, 
Harriet B., 1804 ; d., unmarried, 1831, George, 1806 ; hves 
in Philadelphia. Sally, 1809. Edward, 1812 ; lives in Phila- 



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318 HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 

delphia. Maria, 1814. John went to Indiana ; Billings, to 
Virginia. Otis went to the West, and d. there, 1849. Mrs. 
Hobart is still living. 

Hehshaw, W11J.1AM, is noticed in another part of this work. 
He m. Euth, dan. of Jonathan Sargent, 1762 ; and had Sarah, 
1762; m. Andrew Scott, 1780. Elizabeth, 1764; m. Dr. 
Austin Mint, 1785. Col. Henshaw's second wife was Phebe 
Swan, dan. of Dudley W. Swan; and had Ruth, 1772; m. Dr. 
Asa Miles, and afterwards Hev. Lysander Bascom. Joseph, 
1774; d. in Belchertown. Phebe, 1777; m. Joseph Denny; 
d. August, 1815. William, 1780; lives in Leicester. Daniel, 
1782; noticed elsewhere. Catherine, 1784. Ludnda, 1786; 
m. Joseph Denny for his second wife. Horatio Gates, 1788. 
Benjamin, 1793. Almira, 1796; d. unmarried. 

Col. Henshaw's first wife d. 1769, aged twenty-five; his 
second, 1808, aged fifty-six. He lived upon the farm where 
Mr. Edwin Waite lives, in the east part of the town. 

Henshaw, Daniel, ancestor of aU of the name in Leicester ; 
came from Boston, and lived where Mr. Edwin Waite lives. 
His wife was Elizabeth, dau. of Joseph Bass, Esq., of Boston. 
They were m. in 1724; and had Joseph, 1727 ; mentioned in 
this work as Col. Joseph. William, 1735. David, 1744. 
Hanna/i, m. John Jopp of Oxford, 1763. Mary Belcher, 
m. Amos Wheeler of Worcester, 1762, 

Mr. Henshaw d, Nov. 18, 1781, aged eighty, 

Henshaw, David, son of Daniel, m. Mary, dau. of Nathan 
Sargent, 1773. Had Mm-y, 1774 ; d. 1790. Elizabeth, 1776 ; 
m. Nathaniel Dodge, 1623. Anna, 1778 ; d. unmarried. 
Joshua, 1779 ; lived many years in Ohio ; d. in Leicester. 
Andrew, 1783; removed to Alabama; d. there. Faniiy, 
1785 ; d. 1801. Sarah, 1787 ; m. Andrew H. Ward, Esq. 
Charles, 1789; lives in Boston. David, 1789; is noticed in 
this work. Laura, 1795 ; m. Oliver Fletcher, Esq., 1822. 
John, 1798 ; many years a merchant in Boston ; d. in Cam- 
bridge, 1859, 



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HISTORY or LEICESTER. 379 

Mr. Hcnahaw is noticed in this work. He d. 1808, aged 
sixty.four: his wife d. 1831, aged seventy-six. 

HoDGKiN, John, came from Fitcbburg; m. Sarah, dau. of 
Col. Seth Washburn, 1789. Had Eber, 1790 ; Luci/, 1793. 
Soon after that, he removed to Putney, Vt. ; where he lived 
the remainder of his life, 

Jackson, James, lived where Mr. Eber Bond lives, on the 
Oxford Road. His wife's name was Martha. They had 
James, 1731 ; Thomas, 1733 ; John, 1734 ; Mary, 1739 ; 
MartJia, 1741. 

Jackson, Matthrw, ra. Elizabeth Works, 1781. He camo 
to Leicester, just before the close of the Revolution, from 
Brookfield. He had been a soldier in Capt, Washburn's com- 
pany in the eight-months' service, and at the battle of Bunker 
Hill, and then belonged to Rutland. He first bought the Tan- 
yard Place, at the foot of the Meeting-house Hill. In 1789, 
he bought the house-lot, where he built his house and shoe- 
maker's shop, of Seth Washburn. 

Ilere he afterwards lived and died. He was a shoemaker. 
His children were Joseph, 1784; d. unmarried, Elsey, 1788 ; 
married a Cushman; lived in New-York State, Elisahetk, 
1790; d., unmarried, Oct. 25, 1850. With her, the family 
became extinct. Elizabeth was a lady of a cultivated mind 
and poetical taste, and often contributed fugitive pieces for 
the press. Sho left the following touching allusion to the 
extinction of her family, which a friend caused to be inscribed 
as an epitaph upon the headstone at her grave : — 

" Ah 1 who shall slied a tear for me 
When 'neath the Bilent tncf I lie? 
Will there be friends — who may they hi'i — 
To stand acound with weeping eye? 
The clouds of heaven alone will weep, 
The "winds of heaven sigh, where I sleep; 
And here and there a wtld-flower shed 
Its fi-agi-ance round my lowly bed, — 
The last of her family." 

Johnson, Benjamin, hved in a house, now gone, standing 



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ttaU HISTORY OF LEICESTKR. 

north of Eber Bond's, on the Charlton Road. His wife's 
name was Rebekah. Their children : IiebekoJi,llW; m. Daniel 
Lynde. Esther, 1721; m. William White. Mar^, 1724; m. 
Samuel Bemis. Abigail, 1726 ; m. John Prouty, 1745. 

Capt. Johnson removed to Spencer in 1747. While he 
lived in Leicester, he was a man of influenee in the town. 

Kent, Edgsezer. His wife was Sarah. They had Ehenezer, 
1745. Meuhen,lWl. Jdcoi-, 1750; m. Desire Prouty. Eli%a- 
heih, 1752 ; m. Benjamin Plagg, 1776. Lydia, 1755 ; m. John 
Campbell, 1783. 

Mr, Kent d. Feb. 3, 1786, aged sixty-nine. He hved in a 
house near the Kent Place. 

Kent, Ebenezer, Jun., son of above ; m. Esther Stone, 1772 ; 
and had William, 1773; m. Katy Wheaton. Sarah, 1774, 
Da/iiid, 1777; m. Ruth Watson, 1805, for his first wife; and 
Miranda Cunningham, 1829, for his second; he lived where 
his father had lived, about two miles north-easterly from the 
Meeting-house; he once commanded one of the military 
companies in the town ; d. 1849, leaving a family of children. 
EUas, 1780. Folly, 1787. Betsey, m. Jonathan Hubbard. 

Mr. Kent and wife both d. in 1806. 

King, Henry, came from Sutton to Leicester. His wife's 
name was Prudence. They had Tamar, 1774; John, 1776; 
Henry, 1779 ; Charles and Charlotte, 1783. 

Capt. King was a well-known citizen of the town, and com- 
manded one of the military companies ; lived where his son 
John afterwards lived and died, on the Charlton Road. He 
is mentioned several times in the body of this work. Ho 
d. 1822, aged seventy-four. 

LivmGSTOH, Benjamin, usally written Leviston in the town- 
records. He came from Billerica. He m. Margaret, dau. of 
Alexander Scott, February, 1769; and had Martlia, Decem- 
ber, 1769 ; m. John Phillips, and went to New York. Matt/tew, 
1774, James, 1777. Benjamin, 1780. JVa66y, 1782. 
1784. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



381 



Capt. Livingston lived about half a milo north-westerly of 
Joseph Whifctemore's, in a house, now removed, which stood 
twenty or thirty rods from the road. He once commanded a 
company in Leicester diiring the Revolution, and was in the 
service at Saratoga at the taking of Burgoyne. After the 
war, he removed to Townsend, Vt. James, after removing to 
Vermont, m. Nabby Wheaton of Leicester; and, in 1833, was 
living in Peacham, Vt, 

LiVERMORE, Jonas, came from Weston ; h. 1710. Daniel — 
who, I suppose, was his father — was a proprietor and settler 
of the town before 1720. He settled upon Lot No. 29, lying 
at the foot of Livermore Hill, in the south part of the town, 
on both sides of the road. Jonas lived upon the east side of 
the road. His wife's name was Elizabeth Rice of Sudbury. 
They had (7t>«as, 1736. McaA, 1738. Jfu/y, 1743; m. a Scott. 
David and Elizabeth, 1745 ; m. Samuel Tucker. Eliska, 1751. 
Beulah, 1753 ; m. Levi Dunton. Lydta, 1755 ; m. Asa Prouty. 
Mr. Livermore's will is dated 1773. His wife d. 1799. 

LivERMOBE, Jonas, son of the above, lived in the south part 
of the town, where Salem lived and died. He was a carpenter 
as well ae farmer. His wii'e's name was Sarah. They had 
Mannah,in%2; d. 1767. J"o««s, 1764; d. 1790. Sfjlly,\1%&; 
d. 1833. Faity, 1768 ; m. Samuel Upham, jun., 1791, father 
of William Upham, senator in Congress from Vermont. Salem, 
1770; lived in the south part of the town; d. 1858. Satk- 
sheba, 1772. Lovisa, 1774; m. Gall; d. 1800. Daniel, 1776. 
Mebecca, 1778. 

Mr. Livermore d. 1825 ; his widow, in 1832, aged ninety- 
four. 

Livermore, IsAic, lived in the house opposite where Jonas, 
sen., lived, at the foot of Livermore Hill. His wife's name 
was Dorothy. They had Isaac, 1746 ; who was in Capt. 
Washburn's company at Bunker Hill, Jbner, 1749 ; also in 
the same company. Dwothy, 1751 ; m. George Rogers. 
Abraham, 1753. Elyah, 1755. Lucy, 1758. 



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382 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

LiVERMORE, Jasox. Ilis wife's name was Abigail. They had 
Jason, 1750; Williara,11b^; JbigaU, 1758; Josiah, 1761. 

LiVBRMOEE, Jason, Jun., son of the above, m. Mary ; 

and had Daniel, 1773; Mary, 1775; Jason, 1778. 

Lynde, John, the ancestor of the famiUes of the name in 
Leicester, came from Maiden, and was here before 1721. He 
waa one of the persons named as grantee in the deed to 
the proprietors of the eastern half of the township, and 
was the proprietor of Lot No. 18. He was married, and had 
five children, before he left Maiden: viz., Hannah, 1710 ; John, 
1712 ; Samuel, 1714 ; Daniel, 1717 ; and Mary. His first wife 
died in Maiden. His second wife's name was Hannah. They 
had Abigail, 1721 ; who m. Benjamin Wheaton. Elizabeth, 
1724; m. Daniel Hubbard, then of Worcester, 1748. David, 
1726. Senjamin, 1731 ; d. 1737. 

The will of Mr. Lynde, dated April 7, 1749, gives his son 
John, among other things, half of his tan-yard on his home 
place in Leicester, together with " my negro slave named 

Pompey." To Samuel he gives the farm " where 

Houghton now lives, late the estate of Benjamin Johnson," 
which lies next north of Eber Bond's. He gives his son 
Daniel his lands on the east side of Rutland Road, by Oliver 
Wilt's. 

Mr, Lynde seems to have been a leading man in the town, 
a large landholder, and a man of wealth and influence. He 
d. 1756. He lived at what is called the Elliot Place. 

Lynde, John, Jun., son of the above, seems to have been of 
superior education to those of his day. He was the school- 
master of the town in 1733, when hardly twenty-one years 
old ; and afterwards is described in a deed as " John Lynde, 
Esquire." If he was a justice of the peace, he was one of 
the earliest in town. In 1750, he owned the Elliot Farm, as 
it was afterwards called, in the north part of the town, then 
containing three hundred acres, which had been his father's 
homestead. His children were John, 1736. Isaac, 1741. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTKR. SoS 

James, 1743. John, 1745. Benjamin, 1747. :Ruth, 1749 ; 
m. Daniel Upham, 1765. 

The wife of Mr. Ljnde d. 1751. 

Lynde, Samuel, brother of the above, m. Dorcas, widow of 
James Smith ; and seems to have moved on to the farm which 
had been her husband's, in tlie west part of the town. His 
house was destroyed by a hurricane, aa mentioned in this 
work. His children were Samuel, Lucy, and Mary. 

Lynde, David, brother of above, m. Jerusha Paine of Hol- 
den, 1754; and had Jerusha, 1755; David, 1756; Charles, 
1758; MannaJi, 1760. 

Lynde, Daniel, brother of the above, m, Eebekah Johnson, 
1740. Had Johnson, 1741 ; who went to Spencer, and lived 
on the Sibley Farm. 

LocKB, JosiAH, was born in Marlborough; came to Leices- 
ter from Westborough. He had five children at that time. 
From Leicester he went to Hardwick. While residing there, 
he commanded a company at Eoxbury in 1775. He died in 
Litchfield, N.Y., 1819 ; and his wife, in 1839, at the age of a 
hundred and three years and five months. His wife was 
Persis Matthews of New Braintrce. While in Leicester, they 
had Jb/m, 1762. Persis, 1765; m. George Jenkins. Josiah, 
1766. 

Larkis, William, came from Boston; owned and lived on 
the place now owned by Mr. May. He is sometimes called 
" trader," and sometimes " yeoman," in contemporary papers. 
They had Sarah, 1730; Elizabeth, 1735; Thomas S., 1737. 

Love, John, was a poor man. The town gave him a piece 
of land on the top of Carey Hill, where he lived in a small 
house which long since disappeared ; the traces of which, 
with a pear-tree near it, which he planted, were lately visible. 
His wife's name was Susannah. They had SaraJi, 1736 ; 
Bachel, 1741; Moses, 1745; BAoda, 1754; Eunice, 1759. 

Lincoln, Luke, is said by the Hon. Mr. Wilder in his " His- 
tory of Leominster," to have been of the family of Gen. Lin- 



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384 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

coin of Revolutionary memory. He oame from Scituate. 
His wife's name was Lydia. Their children : William, 1738. 
Bachd, 1741; m. Timothy Boutelle of Leominster, 1768: 
she was the mother of Hon. Timothy Boutelle, late of Water- 
ville, Me. Loring, 1746. Id/dia, 1748. Mary, 1751 ; m. Asa 
Meriam of Oxford, 1778. Dorothy and EUxabelli Lincoln were 
m. in Leicester (one in 1742, the other 1748), and were pro- 
bably sisters of the above. 

Lincoln, Loring, son of the above, m. Dolly Motvor, 1770. 
Had BorotJij/, 1773. 

Mr. Lincoln was the ensign of the company in the eight- 
months' service, nnder Capt. Washbnrn, which took part in 
the battle of Bunker Hill. He lived on the North-County 
Road, in the house next east of where Silas Barle used to 
live. 

Mower, Eporaim, was born in Maiden ; came first to Worces- 
ter, and then to Leicester ; d. 1790, aged sixty. His first wife 
was Mary B. Wheeler of Worcester. They had Timothy, b. 

1745. His second wife was Garfield of Waltham. They 

had Epkraim, b. 1748 ; Thomas, b. 1750 ; all b. in Worcester, 
and two children who died in childhood; one b, in Leicester. 

Mower, Thomas, son of Ephraim, lived upon Mount Pleasant, 
on the farm once owned by Col. Henry Sargent. He came 
from Worcester at the age of ten years. His wife's name was 
Anna Brown of Worcester. Their children : James B., 1773 ; 
d. 1832. Ephraim, 1778. Sarah, 1780; d. 1855. Hulda/i, 
1784. ; d. 1826. Thomas Gardner, b. 1790 ; d. 1853. 

Mr. Mower removed to Worcester in 1792 ; where his son 
Ephraim, a wealthy and highly respectable gentleman, is still 
living. James B. died in the city of New York. Sarah m. 
John Thayer. Thomas Gardner was graduated at Harvard in 
1810, and should have been mentioned among the native-born 
graduates of the town. He we^ educated as a surgeon, and 
commissioned as such in the United-States Army in 1812 ; 
saw much service on the northern frontier and elsewhere; 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 385 

and continued connected with the array till his death, during 
the last years of his Hfe, in the city of New York. He was a 
member of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. 

There was a Samuel Mower, a cousin of Thomas, who took 
his farm on his removal to Worceater, and had Lyman and 
Levi, who removed to Woodstock, Vt. ; and Naimm, who re- 
moved to Montreal, and became proprietor and editor of a 
leading newspaper in that city. 

MoREY, Ephraim. His wife's name was Abigail. They had 
Meiihen, 1738; Simeon, 1739; Zeiiaa, 1740; Eleanor, 1744; 
AUgail, 1751; Jam^, 1752; Moses, 1754; EUzahetk, 1756. 

Mebeitt, Bbmjamin, came from Scituate; was a shoemaker, 
and lived a little west of the late Joseph Whittemore's. His 
wife's name was Sarah. They had Freelove, 1758 ; m. Phi- 
nehaa Converse. SaraJi, 1760. AUgail, 1775. He was a 
soldier in the French War in 1754. 

MoESE, Abneb. His wife was Keziah. They had Elijah, 
1758 ; Stephen, 1759 ; Kexiah, 1762. 

Wewhall, Daniel, came, as I suppose, from Maiden ; as 
Thomas, the first of the name in town, came from there. He 
was here before 1731. His wife's name was Tabitha. They 
had Daniel, 1734; EU&abeth, 1736; Pkinelias, 1742; Samuel, 
1744. He lived in the north-east part of the town. 

Newhall, Daniel, Jun., m. Elizabeth Stebbins, 1754. Had 
James, 1756; Sara/i, 1757; Daniel, 1760; JoJm, 1762; EUzor 
Mh, 1765. 

Newhall, Phinehas, son of Daniel, 1st. His wife was 
Lydia. They had JosepA, 1765. AHe7Mi-s,1168. Persis, 1769; 
m. Asahel Earle. Joseph removed to PhilOpston. Col. New- 
hall kept a tavern, many years, on the North-County Itoad, 
where Mr. Eddy hves. 

Newhall, Jonathan. His wife's name was Hannah. They 
had Thomas, 1732 ; a leading, public-spirited man, and a liberal 
benefactor to the town ; he lived where the late Robert Wat- 
son d., in the west part of the town ; and d., without children, 



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386 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Oct. 26, 1814, aged eighty-two : he commauded the standing 
military company of the town, and marched with his company 
to Cambridge, on the alarm of the 19th April, 1775 ; and was 
always known as "Capt. Newhall." HannaJt, 1734; m. Eli- 
jah Harding of Southhridge. Pk^e, 1736 ; m. Jonathan 
Winalow. ffirtwra, 1738. Dorothy, 11 iO; m. Ebenezer Wash- 
burn, 1757, brother of Col. Seth. Esiher, 1742 ; m. Jockton 
Green, 1762. Jonathan, jun., 1744. Betty, 1747 ; d. 1751. 

Mr. Newhall, and his son Jonathan after him, lived at what 
nsed to he called the Sadler Place. The house was burned 
while Mr. Sadler lived there. The farm is now Nathan 
Craige's, in the south-west part of the town. 

Newhall, Hieam, eon of the above. His wife was Mary. 
They had Hiram, 1764 ; Mary, 1768 ; Joshua, 1770. lie re- 
moved to Athol. 

Newhall, Jonathan, Jun., brother of the above. His wife 
was Mary. They had Mary ; m. Solomon Keyes, Cambridge, 
Vt. Anna. Thomas, 1776. Lucy, 1778. Hetty, 1791. Wil- 
liam, 1793, The femily removed to Warren, R.I. William 
m. Almira, dau. of Winthrop Earle, 1818 ; and lived in 
Leicester many years ; then removed to Pall Hiver. 

Newhall, John. His wife's name was Dorothy. They had 
Allen, 1743 ; John, 1745 ; Betty, 1748. Mr. Newhall came 
from Spencer to Leicester in 1774. 

Nichols, Joshua, came from Maiden ; was a tailor by trade ; 
was employed as a schoolmaster at one time ; was chosen one 
of the assessors at the first town-meeting. He m, Euth, a 
dau. of Capt. Samuel Green; and had Catherine, 1721. CaUb, 
1722. Muth, 1724; m. Thomas Moore of Worcester, 1746. 
James, 1725. AMJaA, 1728. Jeremiah, 1730. Mr. Nichols 
lived on the Deacon Rockwood Place, on the Charlton Road. 

Nichols, Caleb, son of above, m. Lucy Smith ; and had 
John, 1752. Lucy, 1756 ; m. Daniel Carpenter. Catherine, 
1757. Abigail, 1759. C'al^, 1761. He hved on the cross- 
road from the Deacon E,ockwood Place to the turnpike. 



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HISTORY or LEICEWTEE. 387 

Nevbrs, Elisha, by his wife Bathsheba, had PUnehas, 
1726 ; NatMii, 1728 ; MaHJia, 1731 ; Samuel, 1736 ; Jale%, 
1738. He lived at the Amos Craige Place, in the south part 
of the town. 

Parsons, Rev. David. He has been too fully noticed in 
this work to require any further remark. He was b. in North- 
ampton, 1680 ; waa graduated at Harvard, 1705. His wife's 
name was Sarah. They had David, 1712 ; graduated at Har- 
vard, 1729 ; settled as a minister in Amherst, 1739 ; d. 1781. 
Naihan, 1721 ; removed to Belchertown, 1746 ; d. 1806. 
Israel. A daughter, 1724, — name not known. Sdomon, 
1726. 

Mr. Parsons d. 1743, aged sixty-threc ; his wife, 1759, aged 
seventy-three. Meekness dooa not seem to have been a dis- 
tinguishing trait in his character, 

Parsons, Israel, son of the above, m. Hannah Waite of 
Maiden, 1750, for his first wife; and Lois Wiley of Lynn, for 
his second, in 1761. His children were HannaJi, 1751 ; Sarah, 
1754; I>eboraA,n55; Israel, 1757; Elmiezer, 1762; James, 
1763; Bvih, 1765. 

Mr. Parsons lived, a part of his life, in the house opposite 
Mrs. Newhall's, on the Rutland Road ; and, a part of it, in the 
hoTise where his father had lived, north-east of the Meeting, 
house He d. 1767. But, though all his children were then 
living, I have been unable to trace them. None of them or 
tlieir descendants appear in the town for more than fifty 
years past. 

Parsons, Solomon, son of David, was a physician, and also 
deacon of the Congregational Church. He m. Elizabeth Tay- 
lor, 1752 ; and had EU?,aheth, 1753 ; m. Jonathan Hubbard of 
Paxton, 1771. Phdie, 1755 ; m. Abijah Brown, 1775. Solo- 
mon, 1757. Dr. Parsons is noticed among the physicians of 
the town. 

Parsons, Solomon, Jun., son of the above, m. Rebecca C. 
Q of Shrewsbury, 1789. He lived on the North-County 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

, till he removed to Worcester, about 1812. He had 
, 1791 ; went to Louisiana, and d. 1817. Elizabeth, 
1793 ; m. Ira Bryant of Worcester. Sally, 1794 ; m. E. N. 
Child of Worcester. Bloomfield, 1796 ; d. in New Orleans, 
1815. Maria, 1794; d. 1804. Solomon, 1800; lives in 
Worcester. Mr, Parsons is noticed in other places in this 
work. He d. 1831 : his wife d. 1836. 

Pike, Onesephieus. His wife was Mary Saunderson. They 
had James, 1729. Onesephirus, 1731; who removed to Stur- 
bridge. And Mary, a twin; m. Stephen Tucker, 1750. And, 
I suppose, SaraJi; who m. Ephraim Amsden, 174!). He lived 
north of the Bond Place, in the north-west part of tho town. 
He came from Weston to Leicester. 

PoTTBE, JoHK, Jun. His wife's name was Lydia. They had 
Ezra, 1730 ; I^dia, 1733 ; Bohert, 1735 ; Hannah, 1736. His 
second wife was Elizabeth, dau. of William Earle. They had 
WiUiam, 1738 ; Lots, 1741 ; Mary, 1745. Mr. Potter d. 1797, 
aged seventy-three. 

Mr. Potter came from Lynn; waa a housowright. His 
father bought of Benjamin Potter, in 1726, half the lot where 
he lived, about one mile north of the Meeting-house, pre- 
viously belonging to Samuel Stimpson, and conveyed it to 
this John, 1728. The house in which he lived was built by 
his &ther John in 1728, and was lately owned by Thomas 
Smith, and, before that, by Jacob Bond. 

POTTEE, Nathaniel, m. Itebekah ; and had Naihantd, 

1732; .fiM(S, 1735; and Elizabeth, older than these, who 
m. Steward Southgate, 1750. 

He lived in the northerly part of the town, next east of 
John Potter,^ the Jonah Earle Farm. Mrs. Potter d. 1799, 
aged seventy. 

Pierce, Thomas, m. Hannah Locke ; and had Hannah, b, 
1723 ; m. William Bullard, jun., 1741. Benjamin, 1125. Tho- 
mas, 1726 or '27. 

Mr. Pierce came from Woburn about 1722. In 1723, he 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 389 

was pound-keeper, and had charge of the Meeting-houso, He 
lived on the Oxford Road, on the east side of it, south of 
Eber Bond's, in a house long since removed. He left Leices- 
ter, and went to Hopkinton, in 1728. 

Paekman, Alexandbb. He came from "Westborongh ; was 
a clothier ; owned the shop where Samuel Watson afterwards 
carried on business in Cherry Valley ; and lived in the 
house lately occupied by Rufus Upbam, which he bought of 
the Southgates, 1771. His wife's name was Keziah. They 
had Robert Brech, 1771 ; Alexander, 1773. 

Paine, Jabez, m, Elizabeth Hubbard of Worcester, 1753 ; 
and had Ruth, 11 M. Jabez, 1756; removed to Westminster, 
Vt. Ann, 1758. Mizabdk G., 1761 ; m. Hezekiah Saunder- 
son, 1780. Anna, 1763. Chhe, 17G5; m. Joshua Wood, 
Townshend,yt., 1786. ^eSefcoA, 1768 ; m. Benjamin Hubbard, 
1787. WiUiam,lim. 

Mr. Paine lived in the first house on the road leading by 
the late Joseph Whittemore's, which was burned, and stood 
where the present one does. His son WilHam also lived 
there till his removal with his family to Mercer in Maine. He 
m. Relief Ward of Worcester, 1797. 

Pakker, Thomas. He lived on the Charlton Road, the last 
house next to Charlton. His wife's name was Lucy. They 
had Thomas J., 1764; d. 1769. Mary, 1769. S'aroA, 1771. 
JbAn, 1774; hved where his father lived; d. 1849. Elizabeth, 
1777. Thomas, jun., 1779; who lived in Charlton; m. Lucy 
Dunbar of Leicester. 

Mr. Parker d. 1815, aged eighty. 

Rawson, Edward, Esq., came from Mendon, where he was 
bom 1721, and where his children wore born. He came 
to Leicester soon after the war. He was a descendant in 
the fourth degree from Secretary Rawson of Colonial memo- 
ry ; a grandson of the eminent divine, Grindal Rawaon of 
Mendon. He represented Mendon in the Provincial Congress 
and in the General Court; and was a member of the Constitu- 



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390 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

tional Convention, 1779, He was an active magistrate while 
in Leicester, and highly respected. He lived at one time at 
the corner of Flip Road ; afterwards just east of Town- 
Meadow Brook, or, as it xised to be called, " Eawson Broolt," 
half a mile west of the Meeting-house ; where he d. Feb. 11, 
1807, aged eighty-six. 

Only two of his eight children came to Leicester, — Edward 
and Nancy; who d. unmarried, 1848, aged ninety-one. 

Rawson, Edward, son of the above, was b. 1754; was a 
physician ; m. Margaret Steele, dau. of Judge Steele ; and 
had Mary, b. 1779, Benjamin Femherion, 1781. Margaret S., 
1784; d. 1785. 

Dr. Eawson is noticed elsewhere. He lived where his far 
ther died. His wife died Sept. 6, 1784. His son, Benjamin P., 
went to Hudson, N.Y. ; and, on the death of his sister Nancy, 
the Simily became extinct in Leicester. 

Rusa, Hezekiah, came from Lexington. His wife's name 
was Deborah, Their children were Ddiorali, 1710 ; Mar- 
garet, 1714; JUgail, 1718; John, 1720. 

Mr, Russ was in Leicester before 1721. He was chosen 
constable at the first town-meeting, and was one of the gran- 
tees of the settlers' half of the town ; being proprietor of Lot 
No. 8, about a half-mile from the Main Street, on the Charl- 
ton Road. 

Richardson, Teomas, came from Maiden. His wife's name 
was Elizabeth. They had Elimbeth, 1718, Samud, 1722. 
Ja^nes, 1723. PJiUip, 1725. Mary, 1729. Behekali, 1731; 
m. James Smith of Leicester, 1751. 

His second wife was Jane. They had Lucy, 1740. Elko;- 
beth, 1741 ; m. Nathan Lamb of Spencer. 

Mr. Richardson lived in what was the Baptist Parsonage 
Hoiise. 

His son Phihp commanded a company of men in Col. Rug- 
gles's regiment, at Port William Henry, in August, 1756, 

Richardson, Eenjamih. His wife was Patience. They had 



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HISTORY or LEICESTJ'LR. 391 

', 1725. Benjamin, 1731. EUzahdli, 1734; m. Natlian 
Earle. Nathaniel, 1737. 

Mr. Kichardson was a housewright by trade. 
Richardson, Benjamin, Jun., son of the above; m. Eunice 
Swan, dau. of Dudley Wade, 1758 ; and had Abigail, 17G0; 
Benjamin, 1764 ; PUmhas, 1767 ; Artemas, 1768 ; Asa, 
1771; Kaiy, 1773. 

Mr. Richardson owned and lived on the farm where Mrs. 
NewhaD lives, half a mile north of the Meeting-house, wliich 
he bought of Israel Parsons, 1760. He sold this to John 
Lyon in 1777, and removed to Sterling. When he was mar- 
ried, he was called of Worcester. 

Richardson, Nathaniel, son of Benjamin, 1st, in. Ruth Gil- 
key of Plainfleld, He owned and lived on the Bridge's 
Farm, in south-east part of the town. They had WiUiam, 
1764; Sempk, 1767, 

Ryan, Anthony, was probably from Ireland ; as there was a 
John Ryan from Leicester, a soldier in the French War, who 
was from there. His wife's name was Margaret. They bad 
John, 1743. Mary, 1745 ; m, Walter Fanning, "a Foregnor," 
1769. Kaiherine, 1746 ; m. John Mansfield of Boston. So- 
ra]i, 1748. Samud, 1750. Susannah, 1752. Daniel, 1755. 
Margaret, 1760. Susannah, 1762. Bannah, 1765. 
Mr. Ryan owned a part of the Mount^PIeasant Farm. 
Sargent, Jonathan, belonged to Maiden, and came to 
Leicester before 1728. He built, and kept as a tavern, the 
house which stood opposite the present Catholic Church, till 
his death. He was b. 1701 ; and m. Deborah Richardson, 
1726. His children were JonatJian, 1728, NaUianid, 1730. 
iMcretia, 1734; m,, firat, Dr. Pliny Lawton; second. Rev. 
Benjamin Conklin, Ddxyrak, 1739 ; m. Thomas Newball. 
Muth, 1744 ; m. Col. William Henshaw. PhineJias, 1746. 

Sargent, Jonathan, Jun., son of the above, m. Mary, dau. of 
Robert Earle, 1750 ; and had Jonathan, 3d, 1752. He lived on 
Mount Pleasant, where Benjamin Earle has lived ; died in the 



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392 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

army, io the Revolutionary War. Mary, 1753; m. Timothy 
Sprague. Eleanor, VJM; m. John Southgate. William,, Vlb^ ; 
m. Uaehel, sister of Capt. Todd, in 1755 ; he went to Canada, 
Gatherine, m. Amos Livermore, 1790. Samuel, 1761. Elilm, 
1764; d., unmarried, about 1835. 

Mr. Sargent lived in the south-east part of the town, on 
the Auburn Road, a short distance from the turnpike. The 
house ia now standing. 

Sargent, Nathaniel, son of Jonathan, Ist, m. Anne Garfield, 
1763; and had Nathanid, 2d, 1754; d. 1757. Mary, 1756; 
m. Daniel Hubbard. Debora/i, 1759 ; m. Capt. James Earle, 
1786. Hadadrimmon, 1762. Betsey. Ruth; d., unmarried, 
about 1809. He lived a little west of the Pond, on the north 
side of the road. 

Sargent, Phinbhas, son of Jonathan, 1st, m. Mary Edson 
of Simsbury, Conn., 1766 ; and Abigail Dunbar, for second 
wife, 1772 ; and had Lu&retia, April 10, 1768 ; m. Col. Thomas 
Denny; d. April 12,1858: a lady of great worth and respec- 
tability ; bright, cheerful, and intelligent to the last ; forming, 
while she lived, a connecting link between the ante-Revolu- 
tionary period and our own, which no one is left to supply. 
PUnelms, 1770. Artentas, 1773 ; d., 1822, unmarried. Mary, 
1775 ; m. WiUiam Moffit. His first wife d. September, 1770. 

Sabqbnt, Samuel, son of Jonathan, 2d, m. Patty Johnson, 
1784. He lived in various places in town, though for many 
years where his father had lived. He removed to the State 
of New York pretty late in life ; and d. October, 1830. His 
children were Samud, 1785 ; lives in Ohio. Charlotte, 1787 ; 
m. John Pike. Eleanor, 1789; m. Elisha Pike. Lucretia, 
1791; m. Abner Wallen. William F., 1793; lives in Ohio. 
Loring L., 1794 ; removed to Ohio. Arnold G., 1796 ; in Ohio. 
Palmer 6., 1798. Evelina, 1800; m. Simon Phillips. Palmer 
G., 1802; went to New York. Almira, 1804; m. Silas Boyn- 
ton. Louisa, 1805 ; m. George Gierson. Winfhrop E., 1808 ; 
lives in Brookfield. Sarah, 1811; m. David Aldrich. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 393 

Sargent, Nathan, brother of Jonathan, 1st, came from 
Maiden ; settled on Chestnut Hill, so called, adjoining the 
town of Worcester, where his grandson Sewall Sargent livea. 
His first wife was Mary, dau. of Joseph, and grand-niece of 
Jonathan, 1st, 1742. Their children were Lydia, 1743 ; 
m., Ist, J. Watson; 2d, N. Kellog. Nathan, 2d, 1746; re- 
moved to New Braintree. Mary, 1749 ; d. same year. His 
second wife was Mary, dan. of Daniel Denny, 1751. They 
had Meriyy, 1751; m. Micah Eeed of Westmoreland, N.H., 
1796. Samud, 1754. Mary, 1755; m. David Henshaw, Esq. 
liebekali, 1758; d. 1785. John, 1759. SaraJi, 1763; m. 
William Spragne of Leicester. Anna, 1767 ; m. John Hay- 
ward, 1795. 

Mr. Sargent was a stanch patriot. He is mentioned, in 
connection with the march of the Leicester troops, as having 
melted his clock-weights to provide bullets for the soldiers. 
He d. 1799, aged eighty-one. His wife, a very intelligent 
lady, survived till 1822, ninety-five years of age. 

Sargent, Samuel, son of the above, m. Mary, dau. of Seth 
Washburn, 1781 ; and had Muth, 1782 ; m. Benjamin Dunklee ; 
d. 1840. il/ctJ-^, 1784 ; m. Joel Estabrook; d. 1830. Margaret, 
1786 ; m. AV. Arnold ; d. 1834. Clarissa, 1788 ; m. Ira Gale. 
Sarah D., 1790; m. Daniel Joy; d. 1836. Mr. Sargent 
removed to Putney, Vt., about 1790; and his children born 
after that were born in that town. Among them is the Hon. 
Nathan (b. 1794) of Washington City, once a Judge of Court 
of Common Pleas in Alabama ; once Se^ieant-a^Arms of Con- 
gress, Registrar-General of the United-States Land Of&ce, and 
Eegistrar of the Treasury. Samuel, b. 1796; was a physi- 
cian in New York ; d. 1846. Mr. Sargent d. 1825, aged 
seventy-one: Mrs. Sargent d. 1848, aged eighty-nine. He 
lived, while in Leicester, in the house which Deacon Murdoch 
enlarged and occupied, about a half-mile west of the Meeting- 
house. 

Sargent, John, brother of the last, m. Sarah Gates, 1783 ; 



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394 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

and, for hia second wife, Mrs. Isaac Denny, 1818. His oliil- 
dren: Jsa,17M; m. Charlotte Earle; d. 1854. Betsey, 1786; 
m. David Andrews of Hingham, and is mother of Major- 
Gen. Andrews of Boston. Julia, 1788 ; d., unmarried, 1818. 
Sebehah, 1792; m. Lewis Cutting; d. 1843. Anna, 1795; 
m. Ebenezer A. Howard; d. 1820. John, 1797; hved in 
Leicester ; a trader and postmaster ; m. Mary A., dan. of 
Bilhngs Swan; and, for his second wife, Abigail Ward ; had 
children ; d. 1850. Sally, 1797 ; twin with John ; m. J. A. 
Smith, Esq., of Leicester; d. 1849. Sewall, 1799; lives in 
Leicester ; m. Laura Woodworth, and has a family of chil- 
dren. 

Mr. Sargent lived where his son Sewall now does, and 
owned a gristmill, which stood where the brick factory now 
does. He was in the service during the Revolution ; a valua- 
ble citizen, much respected in the town. 

Sabgent, Joseph, hrotlier of Nathan's first wife ; eon of 
Joseph of Maiden, where he was born, 1716. He m. Hannah 
Whittemore for his first, and Martha Grout for his second 
wife. His children were Daniel, 1750; removed to Holden. 
Hannah, 1754; m. WUliam Waite. Jos^h, 1757. Patty, 
1759 ; d., nnmarried, 1831. Bachel, 1761 ; d., unmarried, 
1831. Stephen, 1762; went to Canada, and died there, 

Mr. Sargent lived in a house that stood on the north side 
of the Great Post Road, west of Mr. John Sargent's, near 
where Asa Sargent built a new house. 

Sargeht, Joseph, 2d, son of the above, m. Mary, dan. of 
Thomas Denny. He lived a part of the time in a house that 
stood next west of the house in which Dr. Austin Flint lived, 
now removed, upon what is now a part of the Common ; and 
d. there in 1787. Hia children were Henry, 1783. Sophia, 
1788 ; m. Daniel M'Farland in 1813 ; and, after his death 
in 1818, m. Horace M'Parland in 1822, Joseph D., 1787. Col. 
Henry Sargent m. Elizabeth, dau. of William Denny, 1812. 
He was a very successful business-man ; held many offices, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 39d 

civil and militarj- ; and was a distinguished citizen in tho 
county as well as the town. He was a member of the Con- 
stitutional Convention in 1821; d. 1829. The house in 
which he lived fitood where Mr, Kice's store is, at the corner 
of Main Street and the Charlton Road. He left a family of 
children ; two of whom were graduates of Harvard Univer- 
sity, and both phyaicians in Worcester. Henry, the youngest, 
d. 1857. The other (Joseph) holds an eminent rank in his 
profession. He is mentioned among the graduates of the 
town. Col. Joseph was also a leading and influential man, 
and represented the town in the General Court in 1846. He 
m. Mind well Jones of Spencer; d. 1849, leaving a family of 
children. One son (Edward) is now in business in Leicester. 
Mrs. Sargent d. after her husband. 

Sargent, Thomas, came from Maiden ; was the son of Sa^ 
muel, and cousin of Jonathan 1st, and Nathan. He was born 
1720; m. Tabitha Tuttle. He lived in Leicester some years, 
and then removed to Hubbardston. His children were Abi- 
gail, 1750; m. Zaccheus Hasey, Thomas, 1752; lived in 
the north part of the town, next north of where Barnard 
Upham formerly lived; m. Sarah, dau. of Daniel Denny: he 
died without children, and his widow became second wife of 
Col. Seth Washburn. John, 1755 ; m. Hannah Bond, dau. of 
Benjamin, for his fourth wife : lived sometimes in Hubbards- 
ton, and sometimes in Leicester; d. 1837. Ubenezer, 1762; 
lived in Hubbardston. Sarnttd, m. Deborah, dau. of Peter 
Silvester, 1772; and lived in Marlborough, N.H. 

SOUTHGATB, RiCHARD, Came with Daniel Denny from Coombs, 
Suffolk, Bng., in 1715. The next year he wont back for 
his family ; and brought them over in July, 1717, and with 
them his brother James. The next March, 1718, the South- 
gates and Denny removed to Leicester, and settled there. I 
do not know what circumstance led them to select that spot. 
Mr. Southgate became an extensive land-owner in the town, 
and is one of the grantees in the settlers' deed ; Lots No. 35, 



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396 



HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 



41, and 42, being conveyed to him by that deed. In 1737, he 
owned seven hundred and seventy acres in the town. 

He was the first treasurer of the town, and was much 
employed as a surveyor of lands ; being a skilful and trust- 
worthy person. The name of his father was John. Richard 
was born 1671, and m. Elizabeth Steward, October, 1700. 
They had six children, all born in England ; five of whom 
came to Leicester; St&ward, b. 1703. UUmheth, 1705; d, 
1791, unmarried. Hannah, 1709; m. Nathaniel Waite of 
Leicester, 1737 ; d. 1754. Mary, 1712 ; m. Daniel Livermore 
of Weston, 1732. Richard, 1714. 

He died 1758, aged eighty-eight : his wife died 1751, in 
the eighty-eighth year of her age. They are said to be the 
ancestors of all of the name in New England. 

SouTHGATB, Stewaed, son of the above, m. Elizabeth Scott 
of Palmer, then called the "Elbow," in 1735, while he was 
hving there. About 1740, he returned to Leicester, and spent 
the rest of his days there. Their children were John, 1738. 
Sobert, 1741 ; who was a physician ; removed to Scarborough, 
Me., and is noticed in this work. Margaret, 1743. SaraJi, 
mi; m. Azariah Dickinson of Hadley. Steward, 1748. He 
married, and removed to Hardwick, and was a soldier in the 
Revolution. After the war, he wont to Barnard, Vt. ; where, 
in 1795, he lost five children by the canker-rash, within a few 
days of each other. 

Mr. Southgate married Elizabeth, dan. of Nathaniel Potter, 
for his second wife ; and had Amos, 1751 ; who was married, 
and had a daughter bom after his death, who became the 
wife of Jonah Earle: Amos d. in Boston, 1775. Rehekah, 
1754; d. 1756. Ruth, 1758; d. at Boston, 1777. Moses, 
1761; d. at Boston, 1777. 

His second wife d. 1748 : he died 1765. Mr. Southgate 
was at first a member of the Congregational Church, but 
became a zealous and leading member of the Society of 
Friends ; to which society his second wife's father belonged 



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HISTOEY OF LEICESTER. 397 

prior to 17S2. He must have been well educated for his 
day ; and seems to have possessed a clear head, strong pur- 
pose, and, withal, great aensibility and Christian resignation. 
He had a commanding influence among his religious bre- 
thren ; and the memoranda that he left allude in terms of 
deep emotion to the afflictions through which he was called 
to pass. 

SouTHGATE, JoHN, Son of Steward, m. Eloanor Sargont, dau. 
of Jonathan, 1776; and had Sally, who d. unmarried. John, 
1778 ; d. 1804, unmarried, as related in this work. William, 
1782; d., unmarried, 1811; he was rather a skilful and ta- 
lented painter; he had cultivated his taste under several 
masters ; among others, Ralph Earle, to whom he was remotely 
related ; and by instruction of Gilbert Stuart : the depart- 
ment of art to which he devoted his attention was that of 
portraits, in which he Kould probably have attained a distin- 
guished reputation, had he diligently devoted himself to it as 
a profession. Harriot, 1792 ; d., unmarried, 1841. Eliza, 
1796; m. Jacob Bigelow, then of Montreal; where she died, 
leaving one son, Dr. George F. Bigelow of Boston. George 
W., 1800; now living. Mrs. Southgate d. 1825. 

SouTHGATB, James, Came with his brother Richard from 
England, as above stated. He became a proprietor of the 
settlers' half of the town, as owner of Lot No. 30. At the 
first town-meeting, he was chosen one of the selectmen, and 
surveyor of highways. He, with his brother and several 
other inhabitants of Leicester, addressed a letter to the Gov- 
ernor in 1725, asking for soldiers to guard the town from the 
Indians. 

He was deacon of the church, and took an active part in 
settling Mr. Parsons in 1720. His wife's name was Mary ; and 
they had one sod {James), 1718, who m. Dorothy Lincoln 
in 1741, and had a daughter {Dorothy), 1746. But I find no 
traces of the family after that period. Hia house was a little 
north of Mr. Morton's, in the east part of the town. 



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iSyy HISTORY or LEICESTER. 

SoUTHGATE, RiCHARD, son of Richard, Ist, came with \m 
father from England ; m. Eunice Brown, dau. of Samuel, 1741 ■ 
and had Ridiard, 1742; removed to Eridgewater, Yt. Isaac, 
1744. Samuel, 1747; lived in various places; d. in Scar- 
borough, 1773. Elijah, 1751 ; m. Patty Hastings ; d. in 
Shrewsbury, 1837, aged eighty-seven, without children, i/o- 
nas, 1753; m. Mary Whitney, Grafton, 1782; d.l784. Eumce, 
1757; d. unmarried. JudaA, 1761; d. 1799; m. Susannah 
Taylor of Spencer in 1798. Meray, d. unmarried. 

Mr. Southgate was known as " Elder," and was a Baptist 
preacher. He held meetings in the schoolhouse, when it 
stood where the brick factory now stands, opposite to where 
Esquire Rawson lived. He lived in the south-west part of 
the town, near the line of Spencer; and was a farmer. 

Southgate, Isaac, son of the above, ra. Eebekah Brown, 
dan. of John Brown, 1769; and had Rebekah, 1770; m. a 
Hodges of the Stfl,te of New York. Mr. Southgate m., for 
his second wife, Eunice White, 1771 ; and had Asa, 1772. 
Betsey,im; m. Nathan Beers, 1790. &m«ei,1776. Eunice, 
1779; m. Sylvanus Earle; removed to Ohio; d. 1835. Isaac, 
1782. 

Mr. Southgate d. 1800, aged fifty-six. Samuel m. Hannah 
Waite, 1801 ; and had a family of children in Leicester, One 
son (John P.) lives in Worcester; one (Samuel) is in business 
in Leicester. Isaac m. Maria, dau. of Peter Webb, Esq., and 
grand-dau. of Thomas Denny, sen. He has been one of the 
active business-men and public-spirited citizens of the town 
for many years; a manufacturer of cards. He has repre- 
sented the town in the Legislature ; and has taken an active 
part, as Trustee of the Worcester-County Agricultural Society, 
in promoting the interests of that important association. 

Stone, Jonas, came from Brookfield. He at first lived at 
the tan-yard house, at the foot of the Meeting-house Hill, 
He afterwards lived in the Academy Building, until his re- 
moval to Boston about 1806. He m. Lucretia Baldwin of 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 399 

Shrewsbury, 1784 ; and had Lucy O., 1785 ; m. Paul Wliitney 
of Boston. Henry B., 1786 ; he learned the trade of a sad- 
dler, and lived in Leicester till his father removed to Boston ; 
after going to Boston, he became engaged in business of 
finance, and, by his integrity, skill, and sagacity in that de- 
partment, won the confidence of all ; he was the principal 
instrument of originating and carr^'ing out the " Suffblk- 
Eank " system of exchange, as it was called ; he was the 
President of that institution for many years : he m. Elizabetli 
Clapp, and left several children ; but his history belongs 
rather to the home of his adoption than that of his earlier 
days, iucre^tffl 5., 1787; d. unmarried. Artemas,\1%^. Jo- 
■naa K, 1792; now a merchant in Philadelphia. Zouisa M., 
1797; d. in Leicester in 1811. William W., 1798; a mer- 
chant in New-York City. 

Mr. Stone came from Boston to Shrewsbury in 1821, Ho 
d. 1851, aged ninety-three : his wife d. in 1847, aged eighty- 
four. He was a man much respected and esteemed, and had 
a wide circle of acquaintance and friends. 

Smith, Jambs, m. Dorcas Richardson, 1727 ; and had James, 
1728. Dorcas. Abigail, 1733; m, John Lamb. Israel, 1735. 
Nathaniel, 1738. Deborah, 1741 ; m. Elijah Howe, 1759. 
Beulali, 1743 ; m. Ebenezer Collin, 1770. 

Mr. Smith hved on the Eobert Watson Parm, adjoining 
Spencer. He was a soldier in the Louisburg- expedition in 
1745. His estate was settled in 1750; when Israel is not 
named in the proceedings. His widow m, Samuel Lynde, and 
lived on the same estate. James, the son, removed to Spon- 
cer. He was a soldier in the French War, and d. in the ser- 
vice. The father is called a housewright, in a deed of 1733. 

Stowee, Asa, came from Maldeo. His first wife was Eliza- 
beth Upham. After her death, he came to Leicester, and 
m. Eebekah Lynde, 1761 ; and had Daniel, 1762; Elitabeth, 
1764; Amos, 1765; Tlwmaa, 1767; ^sa,1769; Bamuel,\lll. 

Stoweb, Abijah, m. Tabitha Haaey, 1761 ; and had Samuel, 



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400 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

1762; Nathan; Ahijak, 1768. Mr. Stower ivaa a soldier in 
Oapt, Washburn's company, at the battle of Bunker Hill, In 
1776, he lived at the Baptist Parsonage-house, in the south 
part of the town. It is believed lie went to Putney, Vt. 

SAUKnERSON, John, was a housewright ; came from Water- 
town between 1720 and 1730. He bought a farm in the 
north-west part of the town, west of the Cedar Swamp and 
adjoining Peter's Hill, in 1728. His will was dated in 1750 ; 
in which he mentions his children, most of whom were born 
before his removal to Leicester : viz., Betijamm, 1707. Mhen- 
eser, 1716. Hannali, 1704; m. a Kingsbury. AUah, 1706; 
m. a Coolidge. Meliitabel, 1714; m. a Dix. Prudence, 1710; 
m, Joshua Smith. Tahitha, 1721; m. Nahum Newton. Mary, 
1701; m, Onesiphorus Pike, Lydia, 1723. He had repre- 
sented Watertown in the General Court, 1711 and 1712. 
His wife's name was Hanaah Stratton ; m. 1700. 

Saonderson, Benjamin, son of the above, m, Elizabeth, 
dau. of Nathaniel Green, 1736; and had Elizabeth, 1737; 
m. Ebenezer Call, 1762. Benjamin, 1740. Mary, 1742 ; 
m. Joseph Call, 1762, John, 174i. James, 1746. PMnehas, 
1751. AziJioh, 1754. Eu/us, 1759. 

Mr. Saunderson lived upon the George Bond Place, in the 
north-west part of the town. 

Saunderson, Ebenezer, brother of the above, m. Hannah 
Whitney; and had Hannah, 1747; m. John Saunderson of 
Hartford, N.Y,, 1769. i;benezer,niS. fi'eseHoA, 1750. PJid>e, 
1754. Israel, 1755. Phehe, 1757, Hezekiah was corporal in 
Capt. Washburn's company at Bunker Hill. Ebenezer was 
in the same company, and also Israel. 

Saunderson, Bekjamis, Jun,, son of Benjamin, 1st, m. 
Kachel Merritt, 1761; and had a dau., 1763 ; Beriali, 1767; 
Bacliel, 1768. 

Scott, Matthew, m. Martha Lockard, 1746. Their first 
child on record was Andrew, b. 1759. Mr. Scott lived where 
Mr. Ebenezer Dunbar lives, on the Turnpike, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 401 

Scott, Andrew, eon of t!io above ; m. Sarah Henshaw, 1780 ; 
and had Andrew, 1782; ra. Mary Curtis, 1805. William H., 
1785; m. Persis Earle, 1811, and had a family of children. 
James, 1788 ; removed to the West. 

Mr. Scott built the house in 1800, and lived, wiiore Araoa 
Whittemore died, in the south part of the town. William II. 
once commanded the south military company in the town. 

Scott, John, by his will, dated 1750, disposed of his pro- 
perty to his w^idow Martha, and children : MaUhew. Natha- 
nid, lived on Flip Road ; d. 1827, aged fifty-eight. Thomas, 
lived in Aubuni. Jarte, m. a Thompson. Elizabeth, m. a 
Cunningham. Hebecca. 

Steele, Thomas, is noticed in the body of this work. His 
wife's name was Mary ; d. 1768. Their children were Tho- 
mas, 1738; d. 1767. Elizabeth, 1740; m. Dr. Honeywood. 
Mary, 1741; d., unmarried, 1828. Jane, 1744. Margaret, 

1745; m. Dr. Rawson. Borah, 1746; m. Hitchcocb. 

Samuel, IIA^. Anne, 1751; m. Joseph Allen. 

Shaw, Joseph, was a blacksmith, and lived in the west part 
of the town, near North, or Shaw Pond, as it was sometimes 
called. His wife's name was Dorothy. They had Joseph, 
1735; d. 1736. Jeremiah,VlZ'l. Mercy, Vim. Dorothy, 11^5. 
Snow, Daniel. His wife's name was Mary. Thoy had 
Joimthan, 1735 ; who lived in the north part of the town, 
next south of where Mr. Barnard Upham lived. James, 1748 ; 
d. 1811; lived where Barnard Upham lived. Mary, 1749. 

Snow, Thomas, m. Thankful Bellows, 1756 ; and had James, 
1757. ^?ier, 1759. Sarah, 1761; m. Amos Muzzy, 1784. 
Elizabeth, 1763. Seth, 1T65. Mary, 1767. 
Mr. Snow d. 1804, aged seventy-four. 
Swan, Dudley Wade, came from Milton ; purchased of 
John Potter, jun., the Asahel Earle Place, on the North- 
County Road, in 1736. The name of his wife was Beulah. 
They had Ruth, 1739. JcAez, 1736. Eunice, 1741 ; m. Benja- 
min Richardson, jun. Seih, 1T42. Abigail, 1746, Reuben, 



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402 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

1748. Nathan, 1750. Pkd)e, 1 753 ; m. Col. William Henshaw. 
Dudley, 1756. Jabez was killed during the Bevolutionaiy 
War. 

Swan, Reuben, son of the above, m. Rachel Putnam of Sut- 
ton, 1767 ; bad Buth, 1769 ; m. William Denny. Sally, 1771 ; 
m. Nathaniel P. Denny. Heuhen Billings, 1772. Catlierine, 
1774; m. James Watson of Thompaon, Conn. Samuel, 1778 ; 
graduated at Harvard; studied law, and lives in Hub- 
bardston. 

Mr. Swan was a farmer, and lived on the North-County 
Eoad for several years after he was married. He then pur- 
chased the Tavern Estate, where Capt. Knights now lives ; 
and kept a public-houae for some time. He then built the 
house where Mr. J. A. Smith lately lived, and resided there 
till his death, 1825. 

Silvester, Peter, came from Scituate, and was born there 

in 1687. He married Sarah , and came to Leicester in 

1720. Their children were Pet&r, 1713. Hannah, 1716; 
m. Samuel Tucker. Joshua, 1717. Mary, 1721. Levi, 1723. 
2)ebo7-ah. Mr. Silvester died 1746. 

SiLVBSTBB, Peter, 2d, son of the above, m. Deborah Torrey, 
1750; andhadZ'e6OT-c«i,1751. Iiuth,n5S. Feter,11b5. OUio, 
1758 ; he was a soldier in the Revolution, and was killed at 
Fort Stanwix, 1777. Amos, 1760; m. Sally Osland. Ezra, 
1762. Elisha, 1765. Olive, 1777. 

Mr. Silvester lived for many years in a boiise on the 
eastern slope of the Meeting-house Hill, where there is now 
a cellar, on the north side of tlie road. He died 1801, aged 
eighty-eight. 

Silvester, Peter, 3d, 8on of the above, was a soldier in the 
*army at Saratoga, when Burgoyne was taken. He m. Mary 
Sprague, sister of Capt. William Sprague ; and lived in the 
south-west part of the town. His children were Fhehe, 1782 ; 
Joseph,Vl%^; William, VIU; Mary, 11^%; Oleton 0.( Oliver), 
1792. 



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HISTORY OF LKICESTER. 403 

Silvester, JosnuA, son of Peter, 1st, m. Enth Merrit of 
Mendon, 1758; and had Joshua, 1759; Joseph, 1761; John, 
1763; EUzahdh, 1764; Mabod, 1767; Isaac, 1770. 

Mr. Silvester lived in tho north-east part of the town, 
where Erastus Wlieaton lately lived. 

Silvester, Ichabod, son of the above. His ivife's name 
was Patience. They had Joseph, 1795; im, 1796; Silas, 
1798; John, 1799. 

Silvester, Ezra, son of Peter, 2d, m. Hannah Henry, 1789, 
dan. of Robert Henry; and had SusaUTiah, 1789; Henry, 
1791; OMc, .1793. 

Mr. Silvester and family, with Mr. Henry, removed to 
Charleston No. 4, N.H., in 1794. 

Sprague, Joseph, the first of the name in Leicester, was 
born in 1722, and came from Maiden. He married Phebe 
Hutchinson. He owned the farm, and lived where his son 
(Capt. William Sprague) lived, about a mile north of the Meet^ 
ing-house. Their children were Sarah, 1748 ; Timothy, 1752; 
Mary, 1755 ; John, 1760 ; William, 1763. 

He died 1792; his wife, 1811. Sarah m. Daniel ITpham of 
Templeton, father of Barnard and Daniel Upham of Leicester. 
Mary m. Peter Silvester. 

Sprague, William, eon of the above, m. Sarah, dan. of 
Nathan Sargent; andhadJbsepA,1783. Belekah,Vl%b. Roxa, 
1787. Lana, 1789. Otis, 1791; m. Katherine H., dau. of 
Joseph Denny; removed to Wisconsin, and died there. Alice, 
1795; Laura, 1800; Eliza E., 1806. 

Capt. Sprague died 1831, aged sixty-eight; Mrs. Sprague, 
1837. He was a well-known citizen of the town ; lived 
where his father had lived ; was captain of one of the militia 
companies of the town; was a deputy-sheriff of the county; 
and filled many responsible places. Joseph went to Brooklyn, 
N.Y., where he was at one time mayor of that city ; d. 1854. 
Eebekah was many years a useful and popular school teacher; 
d., unmarried, 1844. Itoxa m. Thomas Edmunds, of the well- 



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404 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

known publishing firntj Lincoln and Edmunds; and is the 
mother of Gen. B. P. Edmunds, and the Hon. J. "Wiley Ed- 
munds, late of the United-States Congress. Lana m. Ben- 
jamin Edmands ; Alice m. Stephen Wiley ; Eliza m. Henry A. 
Denny, now of Worcoator. 

Speague, Timothy, brother of the above, m. Mary, dan. of 
Jonathan Sargent, jun., 1774. Had JosAua, 1774. PoUy,111&; 
m. Jonathan Knight. John, 1778 ; m. Sally, dau. of Capt. 
Daniel Hubbard ; removed to the State of New York, 1807. 
Pkebe, 1781. Betsey, 1786 ; m. Stephen Traak, 1818. Xathe- 
nne, 1788. 

Mr. Sprague lived upon the farm , now belonging to the 
town, which he purchased of Hezekiah Ward, Esq. He died 
1815, aged sixty-two. 

Stickney, Thomas, came to Leicester from Boston. He was 
a native of Newburyport, and had lived in Haverhill and 
Boston. He purchased the Mt. Pleasant Place (of which 
there is a view given in this work), where he carried on his 
mercantile business, and lived in generous hospitality. He 
d. July 28, 1791. The next year, his widow m. John Lyon, jun. 

His children were John, b. at Haverhill, 1775. Thomas, 
1777. 2*0%, 1779. Joseph, lim. ifon-?/, 1782; b. in Bos- 
ton. Betsey, 1784. Harriet, 1788 ; b. in Leicester. Tho- 
mas, jun,, m. a dau. of Rev. Ephraim Ward of West Brookfleld, 
who d. 1859 : he was the father of J. Henry Stickney, Esq., 
of Baltimore, mentioned elsewhere in this work. There were 
also John and Joseph Stickney (brothers of Thomas), who 
were bachelors, and came from Newburyport, and were 
traders upon Mt. Pleasant, in the house which John built, 
upon the north side of the road, in 1789 ; the same in which 
Jonathan Earle and Nathaniel P. Denny afterwards lived. 
They both d. in 1803, — Joseph in October, and John in 
December. They were all men of property and influence, 
and were much respected in town as useful, intelligent, and 
public-spirited citizens. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 405 

Tayj^ok, Edward. Hia -wife was Elizabeth. Thoy had Sa^ 
mud, 1718 ; Edmund, 1721 ; Bartlialomew, 1723 ; Adonijah, 
1728 ; James, 1731. 

Taylor, Johh, m. Susannah Parsons, 1752; and had John, 
1753 ; Susannah, 1755 ; Sarah, 1757. His father (John) 
owned and occupied the Tavern-house Estate, where Capt. 
Knight lives, in 1749, He is called, in a deed of 1748, a 
"trader." That deed conveyed to him all the land between 
the present Charlton Hoad and the Stiirbridge County Road, 
upon the south side of the Great Eoad, 

Trumbull, Joseph. His wife was Abiah; They had James, 
1727 ; JUah, 1729 ; Jos^h, 1731 ; Marp, 1734. Mr. Trum- 
bull hved near the Kent Place, in the north-east part of tlio 
town. 

Trumbull, Joseph, Jun., son of the above, m. Lydia Ham- 
mond, 1758 ; and had Phinehas, 1759 ; Isaac, 1763. 

Trask, David, came from Millbury (then a part of Sutton), 
1764 ; m. Mehitabel Dwight for his first wife, 1788 ; d. 1801 : 
and, second, Polly Cooley ; d, 1807 : third, Abigail Harrington, 
1808. He lived in the west part of the town, on the north 
side of the Great Road. His children were -^nnra .B., 1790; 
m. John Wood. M'ehiiaM, D., 1794 ; m. Samuel Hurd. Mu/r-y 
W., 1803; m. Baylies Upham. James P., 1809; d. 1848. 
Ahby G., 1812, Adeline, 1815 ; m. Delphos Waahburn, Jan£ 
S., 1819. Frances M., 1823. Capt. Trask d. 1831. 

Tucker, Samuel, was of Roxbury, and a son of Benjamin, 
one of the original proprietors of the township. He early 
came to Leicester ; where he m. Hannah, dau. of Peter Silves- 
ter, Ist, 1740. He removed to Spencer, 1762. His chQdren 
were aU born in Leicester; and were Sarak, 1741. Samud, 
1742. IfannaA, 1745 ; m. David Baldwin, /soac, 1746. Muth, 
1748. Elijah, 1751 ; d. 1777. Huldah, 1755 ; d. 1777. Eze- 
hid, \lb1. Mr. Tucker lived in the north-west part of the 
town, on the road leading to Spencer, by the Bond Place. 

Tucker, Benjamin. His wife's name was Mary. They had 



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406 HISTORY OF LKICllSTfift. 

^KKa&etft,1730; m. AbeI"Woodwai-d,1753. itfar^, 1732. Ben- 
jamin, 1734. Joshtia, 1738. AUjah, 1740. Caleb, 1743. Mr. 
Tucker bought his farm, in Cherry Valley, of Nathaniel Eich- 
ardeon, in 1727. 

TucKBE, Stephen. His wife was Hannah. Their children : 
HannaJi, 1739; Stqjhen, mi; John, 114:2; Lucy, 1144; Re- 
behah,Vl4Q. His second wife, Mary Pike, 1750. They had 
James, 1751 ; Nathan, 1752 ; Zephaniah, 1756 ; Mary, 1759 ; 
mixabdh, naO ; Solomon, ll&l; Danid,l'JU; Sarah, 1710. 

Tucker, Benjamin, Jun, His wife was Martha. Tliey had 
Benjamin, 1762 ; Ja^ob D., 1763 ; Ichabod, 1765. 

Thomas, John. The name of his wife was Susannah. They 
had Mary, 1758; John, 1760, I suppose him to be son of 
Samuel Thomas, who was here before 1721, and hved in the 
north-east part of the town, near the Samuel Waite Place. 

ToBBEY, Abel. His wife was Mary. They had Samuel, 
1753; David, 1755; MoUy, 1757; Ahd, 1761; Abn&r, 1753. 

Vinton, Abiathar, was born in Wobum in 1700 ; m. Lydia, 
dau. of Gapt. Samuel Green, 1723; and had Lydia, 1724; 
m. James Wilson of Spencer. Hannah, 1726. Tamar, 1728 ; 
m. James Baldwin, jun. Elizabeth, 1730; m., first, Seth Bab- 
bitt, 1753; and, second, James Howard. Abiathar, jun., 1732. 
John, 1735. Samuel, 1737 ; a physician in South Hadley, 
1801. 

Mr. Vinton lived a while in Braintree before coming to 
Leicester. He was a blacksmith, and lived on the Cope- 
land Place, in the south part of the town. He d. in 1740. 
His son of the same name went to Charlton, and removed to 
Granby about 1772. He had a son Abiathar, b. 1764, who 
lived in South Hadley; where hia son (Hon. Samuel P. Vinton, 
now of Washington) was born 1792. He graduated at Wil- 
liams College ; went to Ohio ; became an eminent lawyer ; 
and was a member of Congress twentj'-two years. 

Upham, Ebenezer, was the son of Samuel; b. in Maiden, 
1726. He m. Lois Waite of Maiden, 1748. They had Lois, 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 4(17 



1751. Watte, 1155; was in the three-years' service in the 
Revolution. Eunice. Elhabeth, 1755. Tafntha, 1757. Sbe- 
nezer B., 1759. MeJdtaM, 1761. Friscilla, 1765. William, 
1766. Joshua, 1767. Phinekas, 1770. 

Mr. Upham was a farmer, and lived in tiie house between 
the Deacon Eockwood Place and the Copeland Place. lie 
was the lieutenant of the Leicester Company, in 1775, which 
marched to Camhridge ; and his son Waite belonged to the 
same. 

Upham, Samuel, brother of the above, lived where Deacon 
Rockwood did, in the south part of the town. His wife's 
name was Martha. They had Martha, 1758. Saviuel, 1762. 
Merc^, 1765 ; m. Pliny Green, 1783. 

Upham, Samuel, 2d, son of the above, m. Patty Livermore, 
dau. of Jonas, 1791. He lived where his father had lived, 
until his removal to Vermont. His children were William 
(Aug. 5, 1791), who is noticed in another part of the work; 
d. at Washington, a senator in Congress. Samuel, 1793, 
Falt^, 1797. Horace, 1799. 

Mr. Upham removed to Vermont soon after 1800, lie 
d. 1848, at Randolph in that State, aged eighty-seven. 

Upham, Ebekezeb, m. Mary Crowl ; and lived in Cherry 
Valley, where Nathan Beers, and after him Mr. Shepherd, 
lived. Tliey had Mart/, 1762. Ebene%er, 1764. Thaddeus, 
1768; who was a tanner; lived at the foot of the Meeting- 
house Hill; left Leicester, 1800; went to Watertown, and 
d. there 1814. Sarah, 1776 ; m. Daniel Works, 1794, 

Upham, Nathaniel. His wife was Rebekah. They had 
Thomas, 1747; MeUtabd, 1750; Rebehah, 1753. 

Upham, Jonathan, brother of the Ebenezer above ; m, 
Martha Tucker, 1750. Had Bathsheba, 1752. 

Upham, Jacob, brother of the above; m. Sarah Stower, 
1751. Had Phehe, 1752. 

Whtttemore, John, is described in early papers as of Rum- 
ney Marsh in Boston. His wife's name was Rebekah. He 



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408 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

was in Leicester before 1130, and is called " Deacon " in 1735. 
He had John, 1721. Wa(Aa«, 1723. Sebekah, 1125 ; m. Oliver 
Witt, 1745. PAefie, 1727; m. Ralph Earle, then of Shrews- 
bury, 1749. Nathaniel, 1732. James, 1734. Mr. "Whitte- 
more owned the farm where his grandson Joseph lived, and 
recently died. 

WmTTEMOBB, John, Jun,, son of the above ; m. Elizabeth 
Earie, 1749, dau. of Hobert; and had John, 1750. Molly, 
1754. Thomas, 1755. Iiehe!cak and Fhebe, 1756 ; d. 1759. 
Ruth, 1766. He lived where Mr. Partridge lives, near the 
Gage Place. 

Whittemorb, James, son of John, let; in. Dorothy Green, 
1761 ; and had James, 1762. FJiebe, 1 765 ; m. Samuel Waite. 
Dolly, 1767; d. unmarried, Samuel, 1769; removed with his 
family into New York. Kat^, 1772; d. unmarried. Clark, 
1776; lived in Worcester. John. Joseph, 1786; d. 1859. 

Mr. Whittemore lived where his son Joseph recently lived 
and died. He d, 1811, aged aeventy-seven. He was always 
known by the title, " Lieutenant " James. 

Whittemore, Nathan, son of John, Ist; m. Lois Earle, dau. 
of William, 2d, 1763. They had Naihan, 1764 ; Lucretia, 
1766; Joseph, 1768. 

Whittemore, Asa ; lived in the south part of the town. 
His wife's name was Lucy. They had Lucy, 1776 ; Jsa, 1777 ; 
Amos, 1779; PoUy, 1780; Miby, 1782; Amasa, 1784; Jonas, 
1786 ; Charles, 1790 ; John S., 1794. 

He d. 1821, aged seventy-one: his wife d. 1822, aged 
sixty-five. 

Wicker, William, was here before 1720. His wife's name 
was Eebekah. They had Behehah, 1720 ; Jacob, 1723 ; John, 
1726; James, 1729; Meraj,Vli{i. 

Jacob m. Abiah Washburn, sister of Col, Seth, 1747 ; and 
moved to Hardwick. He lived north of Moose llill, in what 
is now Paston. 

Wabebn, William. His wife was Susannah. They had 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 409 

Tlumm, 1736; Susannah, 1728; W^iam, 1732; Thomas, 
1736 ; Hannah, 1739. 

Warren, Ebenezer ; lived in the west part of the town, 
where Joseph, his grandson, now lives. His wife's name 
was Lydia. They had Jonathan, 1750; who was a tanner, 
and lived in the south-west part of the town, where his son 
Jonathan died. Lydia, 1752 ; m. Abner Dunbar, 1774. 
Ebenezer, 1754. Mijah, 1759. 

Wakhbn, Elijah, son of the above ; m. Elizabeth "Wheeler, 
1781. Had Jmos, 1782 ; lives in Woodstock, Vt. Joseph, 
1784. £efee!/, 1785 ; m. Jonathan Bond. Li/dia,nSS. Mary 
W., 1790. Charhtte, 1792. He m. Mary Belcher Wheeler, 
1801 ; and had Sarah H., 1802. KatJierine H., 1804 ; d. 1828. 
Louisa A, 1807 ; m. Rev. Amos D. Wheeler, now of Topshara, 
Me., 1830. Henry E., 1809. Mr. Warren d. 1843. 

Witt, Jonathan ; came from Southborough. His wife's 
name was Dinah. They had Lydia, 1745. He lived in what 
is now Paxton. 

Witt, Oliver; m. Eebekah Whittemore; and had Sarah, 
1746; Jonathan, 1751; Phebe, 1748. 

WiLSOK, James ; came from Lexington, and settled on Lot 
No. 10, on the Charlton E-oad, about half a milo from the 
Meeting-house. He was there in 1714; and was probably 
the first settler, or among the very first, in tho town. In 
1758, he removed to Stookbridge ; having resided a few 
years previously in Spencer. His wife's name was Mehitabel. 
They had Amy, 1725 ; m. Thomas Tolman. James, juu., 
1727. WHUam, 1729. John, 1730. Amriah, 1731. 

Ward, Hezeeiah; came from Grafton in 1768. He owned 
the farm now belonging to the town ; which, after the war, 
he sold to Timothy Spragne, and removed to Paxton. He 
was a magistrate and a leading citizen while in town. He 
m. Martha Earle, dau. of Robert; and had HexeMah, 1771. 

His first wife was Sarah, dau. of William Green, 1st, of 
Leicester. He was then called of New Medfield. 



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410 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Waite, Nathaniel, the first of the name who came to 
Leicester, was b, in Maiden, 1701. He settled upon the farm 
on which his son Samuel lived and died ; the road to which, 
when he came there, was indicated by marked trees in the 
primitive forest. His first wife was Mary Eichardson, m. 
1735 ; hut she died in a few months, and he m. Hannah, dan. 
of Eichard Southgate. She was b. in Coombs, England, 1709 ; 
and d. 1754. They had Nathaniel, jun., 1738 ; lived in Hub- 
bardston; d.l815. ifonjio^, 1740 ; m. Thomas Earle. Nathan, 
1742. David, 1744; removed to New Braintree; d. 1815. 
PJdneJias, 1746 ; m. Patty Forbes ; lived where Deacon Mur- 
doch lived; d. 1810. Jonathan, 1748; lived in "Woodstock, 
Vt.; d. 1810. Samuel, 1750. WUliam, 1751; m. Hannah, 
dau. of Joseph Sargent; lived in New Braintree; d. 1837. 
Mary, 1753 ; m. Nathan Sargent, 2d ; lived in New Brain- 
tree; d. 1816. Phebe, 1857; m. Nathaniel Whittemore of 
Peterborough; d. 1835. Jsa, 1759. Ulizaieth; m. Potter 
Cole; removed, when a widow, to Ohio; d. 1845. 
Mr. "Waite m. a third wife (Phebe Read) in 1756. 
Mr. "Waite d. 1791, at the age of ninety, never having 
been sick a day in his life ; and was followed to his grave by 
all the above-named twelve children. 

"Waite, Nathan, son of the above, owned, and for many 

years kept as a tavern, the house (now removed) opposite 

the Cathohc Church. He d. 1818, aged seventy-four. He 

m., first, Joana Tucker, 1765 ; and had Joana, 1766 ; m. Dr. 

Otis Gould of Dartmouth. Nathan, jun., 1768 ; m. Martha 

Bruce in 1792, and removed to Sterling. Sally, 1770 ; m. 

Capt. Darius Cutting, 1789. 

Mrs. "Waite d. 1771. Mr. Waite m., second, Hannah Parks 

of Shrewsbury; and had Nakum, 1775; m. Olive Lynde; 

d. 1816. Hannah, 1778; m. Samuel Southgate, 1801. Alice, 

1782. Joseph, 1784; d., unmarried, 1815. 

Waite, Samuel, son of Nathaniel, m, Phebe, dau. of James 

Whittemore, 1792 ; and had Lymim, 1793. Samuel, 1705. 



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HISTOKY OF LEICESTER. 411 

WUUam, 1797. Edivin, 1798. Emdine, 1802; m. Cyrus 
Underwood of Auburn, N.Y., 1824. Laura Alma, 1803. 
Phinehaa, 1805. Charles, 1808. 

Mr. Waite d. 1847, aged ninety-seven : his wife d. 1819. 
He built the house in which he lived, wiioro his son Lyman 
now lives. 

Waite, Asa, known as "Major "Waite," was brother of the 
above. He m. Rebekah, dan. of Samuel Works ; and had 
Elmer, 1789. Libcretia, 1796 ; d. 1826. Mrs. Waite d. 1843. 
Mr. Waite is mentioned elsewhere as having been in the Re- 
volutionary War. He d, 1814. 

Watson, Samuel. His wife was Margaret. Their children : 
Mizc^h, n23 ; m. Robert Paul. William, 1724. Samud, 
1728. John, 1730. Danid, 1732. 

Watson, John. There was a John Watson here before 
1722 ; but whether father of this one, 1 cannot ascertain. The 
name of the wife of the one noticed here was Mary. Their 
children: Patrick, 1745. John, 1747. Samuel, 1749. Boro- 
thy, 1754 ; m. James Smith. Sarah, 1757 ; m. Nathan Kings- 
ley. Molly, 1759; m. Isaac Prouty. BUnabeth, 1762; m. 
Elijah Washburn. BannoA, 1764. Lydia, 1766 ; m. John 
Read, Rutland. 

Mr. Watson lived in the west part of the towu. He d. 
1795, aged eighty; his wife, the same year, aged seventy. 

Watson, Johnson, m. Lydia Sargent, 1764. Had Mary, 
1765; Jos&ph, 1767; Sarah, 1769. 

Watson, William, lived on the Charlton Road, about a mile 
south of the Meeting-house. He m. Susannah Bulloch of 
Rehoboth, 1769; and had Susannah, 1769. Anna, 1773 ; m. 
Moses Hammond. William, 1775. Abigail,, 1779 ; m. Rev. 
William Mason of Castine. Samud {afterwards SamuM D.) 
1781; who, at one time, commanded the regiment to which 
Leicester belonged ; was extensively engaged in business, 
and a popular citizen ; he removed to Amherst, and d. there 
in reduced circumstances. 



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412 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

Mr. Wataon was known as " Capfc. Watson." He d. 1828, 
aged eighty-four : his wife d. 1804, aged fifty-eight. 

"Watson, Samuel, son of John, m. Ruth Baldwin, 1772 ; and 
lived in the west part of the town, about half a mile north 
of the Great Eoad. His children were Nahby, 17T4. Ghhe, 
mS,. Polly, 1111. Iiuth,mi. Luc^,nBB. SamweJ, 1785; 
d. 1818. Jaa B., 1793. 

Mr. Watson d. 1818, aged sixty-nine : Mrs. Watson d. 1849, 
aged ninety-eight. Lucy m. Hon. James Draper of Spencer, 
1805. Ruth m. Daniel Kent, 1805. 

Watson, Benjamin. His father was Samuel. He lived in 
the south-east part of the town, on the road leading from 
Cherry Valley to Auburn, near the Turnpike. He m. Euth 
Bancroft, 1778 ; and had Eunice, 1779. Samuel, 1782; who 
has been a leading citizen of the t-own ; represented it in the 
General Court; and is noticed in other parts of this work. 
Ruth, 1784. Benjamin., 1785 ; removed to Mercer, Me. Mrs. 
Watson d. 1834; Mr. Watson, in 1831, aged eighty-five. 

Watson, Matthew, brother of the above, lived in Cherry 
Valley, where Nathan Ilolman lives. He m. Mary Taylor, 
1762 ; both of Leicester. They had Nancy, 1763 ; m. Daniel 
Denny, son of Samuel ; and d., 1852, in Worcester. Peijgy, 
1786; m. Edmund Snow; d. 1859. Polly, 1768. Maitlmo, 
1770 ; d. unmarried. 

Mr. Wataon built the house on the Old Eoad, opposite the 
Southgato Place, in Cherry Valley. 

Wheaton, Benjamin. His wife's name was Abigail, dau. of 
John Lynde, 1744; and had JbAn, 1745; SraroA, 1747; Chris- 
ioplier, 1748 ; Pliny, 1751 ; Dan, 1753. He lived in the north- 
west part of the town. 

Wheaton, John, son of the above, m. Phebe Hubbard of 
Holden, 1770; and had P/iefe; Sarah,!!!^; Pliny, mS; 
Joseph and Benjamin, 1783. 

Washburn, JoSBPHi b. in Bridgewater; ra. Hannah John- 
sou, b. in Hingham ; went to Middlotown, Conn, ; and came to 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 413 

Leicester before 1745. His children were born in Bridge- 
water ; and the following named came with him, or pre- 
viously, to Leicester: Seth, 1723. Elijali. Ehenezer, 1734. 
Abiah, m. Jacob Wicker, 1747. Sarah, m. Joseph Cerley; 

went to Wbitingham, Vt. ; d. 1817. Ma/ry, m. ■ Clough of 

Stafford) Conn. 

Mr. Washburn was a blacksmith ; lived in a house, where 
there is now a cellar, on the right-hand side of the road lead- 
ing to William Silvester's, about a quarter of a mile from the 
Great Road. He d. in 1759 ; his widow, in 1780, aged eighty- 
Elijah m. Hannah Taylor, 1746 ; and went to Natick, and 
afterwards to New Hampshire. Ebenezer m. Dorothy, dau. 
of Jonathan Newhall, 1757 ; and removed to Hardwick, While 
he lived in Leicester, he was employed to teach school. He 
was father of Dr. Cyrus Washburn of Yernon, Vt. 

WdSHBDRN, Seth, is noticed elsewhere. He was son of the 
above ; was bom, 172.3, in Bridgewater ; went to Middletown, 
and then came to Leicester before 1745; m. Mary Harrod, 
1750 ; and had Seth, 1751. Joseph, 1755. Asa, 1757. Mary, 
1759; m. Samuel Sargent, 1781; d. 1849. ifonraciA, 1762; 
long a popular school-teacher in Leicester ; m. Jonathan A. 
Phippin, Westminster, Vt. ; d., 1850. fittroA, 1764; m. John 
Hodgkin, 1789; d. 1850. Amity, 1767; m. John Hayward, 
1793; d., without children, 1794. lj>j.cy, 1769; m. Josiah 
Woodward of Mlllbury, 1794; d. 1796. EUzabeth, 1774, 
d. 1777. 

Cob Washburn m. Sarah Sargent, 1788, for a second wife. 
His first wife d. Sept. 16, 1787: he d. Feb. 20, 1794, aged 
seventy. 

Washbukn, Seth, Jun., son of the above, m. Susannah Rood 
of Sturbridge, 1772. He lived in the north-west part of the 
town, near the George Bond Place, where there is a cellar : 
the house disappeared many years since. He had Nathaniel 
1773. After this, he removed to Wilbraham ; and died in tlie 



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414 HISTOR'Y OF LEICESTEK. 

army, during the Revolution, at Governor's Island, N.Y., 
1776. 

Wasiibuen, Asa, son of Seth, 1st, m. Sarah Upham of Spen- 
cer ; and had Seuirni, 1781, who was graduated at Dartmouth ; 
studied and practised law ; has been a Judge of the County 
Court in Vermont; and lives in Ludlow. Levi, 1783. 

Not long after this, Mr. Washburn removed to Putney, Vt. ; 
where he I'aised a large family of sons and daughters. He 
became an acting magiatrato and a loading and influential 
citizen in the town where ho resided. He d. Oct. 6, 1834; 

"WASHB0KN, Joseph, son of Seth, 1st, is noticed in the work. 
He m. Ruth Davis, dau. of Bbenezer Davis of Charlton, 1787; 
and had bbenezer JD., Oct. 26, 1788 ; settled in Alabama ; 
was a lawyer, a Judge of the Court, there; and d. 1838, 
leaving a family there. Seth, Sept. 30, 1790 ; was a physi- 
cian, and tminent in his profession; settled in Greenfield, 
where he d. January, 1838, leaving a family. Imdnda A., 
Dec. 23, 1792 ; m. John Wilder, then of Leicester, 1815 ; 
d. in Providence, R.I., Nov, 1, 1843, leaving a family of 
children. Joseph, Sept. 8, 1795; a merchant; now lives in 
Savannah, Ga. Abigail D., Sept. 22, 1797 ; d. unmarried, 
March 11, 1816. Emory, Feb. 14, 1800 ; removed to Worces- 
ter, 1828 ; ia mentioned elsewhere. Ruth, May 8, 1802 ; m. 
Rev. Joseph Muenscher, D.D., now of Mount Vernon, 0., 1825. 

Mr. Washburn died March 27, 1807, aged fifty-two : Mrs. 
Washburn died March 22, 1827, aged sixty-one. At the time 
of his death, ho lived, and owned the farm, where Mrs. New- 
hall lives, half a mile north of the Meeting-house. 

Washbuen, Gideon, was cousin to Joseph, 1st ; b. in Bridge- 
water, 1704 ; m. Mary Perkins of Eridgewater, and had four 
sons, and, with two of them [Ahraham and Jacob), removed to 
Leicester, and settled in the north part of the town. He died 
1794, aged ninety-one ; never having had a physician in his life, 

Wasubuen, Jacob, son of the above, was b. 1733. He had 
SaUy, 1779; Jacob; and Francis. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 415 

He lived in the north part of the tovni ; and d. 1818, aged 
eighty-five. He was a lieutenant of a company in the French 
War. 

The children of Abram, son of Gideon, were James, Elioh, 
Luke. He lived in the north part of the town, 

Washbdbn, Jacob, son of Jacob, m. Achsa Johnson, 1789 ; 
and had Cephas, 1792 ; Jacob, 3d, 1793. 

Mr. Washburn died 1818, aged eighty-five. 

Washburn, Francis, son of Jacob, 1st, m. Catherine Earle, 
1796; and had Welcoms, 1797; John, 1801. He then m. 
Polly Watson, 1806 ; and had Delphos, 1808. Gaihain^ E., 
1818; m. Ezekiel Bellows. 



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rdb, Google 



APPENDIX. 



rdb, Google 



rdb, Google 



APPENDIX. 



No. 1. — Indian Deed of the Totmuhip. 

Know all men by these pi-esenta, that the heirs of Oraskaso, Sachem of 
a [>lace called Towtaid, situate and lying near tlie new town of the Eng- 
lish called Worcester, with all others which may, under them, belong 
unto the same place aforesaid, Towtaid, — these heirs beii^ two women, 
with their husbands, newly married ; which being by name called Philip 
Tray, with his wife Momokhue ; and John Wampscou, with Waiway- 
iiom his wife, — for divers good causes and considerations us thereunto 
moving ; and more especially for and in consideration of the sum of 
fifteen, pounds, current money of New England, to us in hand paid by 
Joshua Lamb, Nathaniel Page, Andrew Gardner, Benjamin Gamblin, 
Benjamin Tucker, John Curtice, Richard Draper, and Samuel Buggies, 
with Ralph Bradhurst of Roxbury, in the County of Suffolk in New 
England, the receipt of which we do fully acknowledge oui-selves to be 
iuUy satisfied and paid, — have given, granted, bargained, sold, alien- 
ated, infeotfed, and confirmed, and by these presents do fully and abso- 
lutely give, grant, bargain, sell, alienate, infeoff, and confirm, unto the 
said Lamb, Page, Gardner, Gamblin, Tucker, Curtice, Draper, Rugglea, 
and Bradhurst, their heirs and assigns, a certain tract of land, — con- 
taining, by estimation, eight miles square, — a tuate Ij ^ and being 
near Worcester aforesaid ; abutting, southerly on tl e lands of Joseph 
Dudley, Esq., lately purchased of the Indians and weote ly the most 
southernmost corner upon a little pond called Pt pak ju im ock, then 
to a hill called Wikapokotownow, and from the ce to a li tie h 11 called 
Mogsona<'hud, and unto a great liill called Aspomsok , and so then, 
easterly, upon a line until it comes against Worcester bounds, and 
joins unto their bounds; or howsoever otherwise butted and bounded: 
together with all and singular the rights, commodities, liberties, privi- 



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420 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

leges, and appurtenances whatsoever to the same belonging, or however 
otherwise appertaining : To have and to hold the said tract or parcel 
of land — situating, containing, and bounding as aforesaid — to the said 
Lamb, &&, their heirs and assigns, in common tenancy, to their only 
proper use, sake of, and benefit, for ever. And the ssud Philip Tray 
and Momokhue, and John Wampseon and "Waiwaynow, their wives, 
with all others under them as aforesaid, do covenant, promise, and grant, 
for tbem'ielvpi their heira executors and administraloi to and with the 
said Ja.hui Lamb &,c the r heirs ■md assigns that they will the ihove 
gianted and bargained lands and every part -uid parcel thereof with 
their and every of their appuitenances warmnt anl defend from all 
and every per on and peiaons whatsonier cHim ng iny nght or t tie 
theieunio or interest thpiem from by oi under ui 

In witness whereof the taid Phil p Tray ind Momokhue and Jol n 
■Wamiscon with Wi]Wi)now leng the i wiief have hereunto set 
tl eir hands and sells this twenty seventl 1 j f Ji lui s an D i 

one thousand s s hundre 1 and eighty s s 



Signed sealel anddeh^eied 
in presence of us ; 



mark. [Stii 



MoNAWAHO, --^ hia mark. John Wamscon. „ 

Capt. & MooGUS, his iiiiirk, Waiwaynow WahsCON, + her murk. „ 

Akdeew 8 PiTTiaiE, — his murk. Wandwoamao ^ (iiiEtfeiKimj.hisiimrk. „ 

.TciBAS, his O wife's mark. „ 

Philip Tray, Monolthue {his wife), Waiwaynow, and Wandowamag, 
all personally appearing before me, underwritten, one of his Majesty's 
Council of his territory and dominions of New England, June 1, 1687, 
did acknowledge this instrument to be their act and deed. 

William Stouohtos. 

Kecorded March 8, 1713-14. 



Jj-Q, 2. — Extracts from Deed from the Proprietors of the Town to the 
Settlers of the Hastem Half. 

It bears date Jan. 11, 1724; and is recorded Nov. 29, 1729. The 
names of the committee are stated in the deed, — William Dudley 
and Joshua Lamb of Eoxbury, Nathaniel Kanney, of Boston (vie- 



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tualler), and Samuel Green of Leicester. The rieed is fo llie settlers 
(naming them) "who have built or settled fifty families thereon." 



, 30A.Jolin Stebbins. 

:. „ „ Joseph Stebbina. 

:. 40 „ James Wilson. 

:. „ „ Samuel Green. 

'. „ „ Arthur Carey. 

>■ ,1 ,1 Ministry. 

'. „ „ Moaes Stockhridge. 

I. „ „ Kezekiah Kuas. 

*. 30 „ John Peters. 

). „ „ William Brown. 

'.. „ „ Thomas Hopkins. 

i. „ „ Daniel Denny. 

). 40 „ John Smith. 

I. 50 „ Ralph Eai-le, 

). „ „ Natjianiel Kanney. 

i. 40 „ Samuel Stimpaon. 

f. „ „ Benjamin Woodbridge. 

i. „ „ John Lynde. 

i. „ „ Josiah Winsiow. 

). „ „ Josiah Winslow. 

I. „ „ Josiah LangdoB. 

!. „ „ Joshua Renshair. 

(. „ „ Joseph Parsons. 

t. 30 „ Nathaniel Richardson. 

!. 40 „ John Menzies. 



30 A.Nathaniel Richardson. 
40 „ Joseph Sargent. 
„ „ Samuel Green. 
50 „ Daniel Livermore. 
40,, James Southgate. 
Samuel Green. 
Daniel Parker. 
50 „ William Brown. 

„ Thomas Baker. 

„ Richard Southgate. 

„ William Green. 

„ Samuel Prince. 

„ Nathaniel Kanney. 

„ Dorothy Friar. 

„ Thomas Dexter. 

„ Richard Southgate. 

„ Kiohavd Southgate. 

„ Daniel Denny. 

„ William Kean. 

„ James Winslow. 

„ Daniel Denny. 

„ John Smith. 

„ Stephen Winchester. 
ou„ Paul Dudley. 
40 „ John King. 



Two thirty-acre lots, called the Mill Lots, to Samuel Green ; and 
one thirty-acre lot, called the Milt Lot, to Thomas Richardson : they 
performing the conditions mentioned in a grant of the said mill-lots 
to them. 

Of the foregoing, Thomas Baker of Erookfleld never came to 
Leicester. He sold Lot 34 to Judge Menzies. 

Joseph Parsons never came to the town. 



No. 3. — An Accaunt, of Bounties paid hj the '. 
^/ Individuals of said Town, to Soldiers who 
Army oi different Periods from 1775 to the 



of Leicester, 
■jed to serve in 
of the War. 



1. 1775, May. To thirty-seven non-commissioned and privates, 
each of which received of the town 28s., and of individuals 30s., each, 
for eight months £51. 16s. and £55. 10s. 



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423 HISTORY oe ],EICESTER. 

2. Dec, 1. Sixteen men at Dorchester, two niontba each, i-eceived 
of the officers of the miHtia 30s £24. 

S. 1776, Jan. 20. Sixteen men at Eoxbury and Dorchester two 
months, each of which received of individuals and militia -officers 
30s. £24. 

4. To eight men one year at New Tork, from January, 1776, at 
£12 each . £96. 

5. June 24. Nineteen men to New York five months at £9 each, 
paid by individuals and militia^officers £171. 

6. Six men to Ticonderoga at £15 each, paid hy individuals and 
militia-offlcevs £90. 

7. Sept, 10. Twelve men to New Tork two months, at £4. 10s. 
each, paid by individuals and the mUitia-offlcers .... £54. 

8. Nov. 20 and 30. Four men to New York, at £12 each, paid by 
individuals and the militia-officers £48. 

9. 1777, April 12. Seven men to Rhode Island, two months, at 
£4 each £28. 

10. April 30. Six men to complete the State's quota of the Conti- 
nental Army, for eight months, at£18 on an average . . £108. 

11. July 11. Two men, £4. 10s. each £9. 

12. Aug. 9. Twenty-one men to the northward, at £24 each, paid 
by individuals and militia-officers for three months . . . £504. 

IS. Dec 27. Three men, two at £30 each, and one at £15 . £75. 

14. 1778, Feb. 7. Ten men to guai-d at Boston under Gen. Heath, 
at £18 per man £180. 

15. April 18. Six men to re-enforce the Continental Army, nine 
months, at £130 each £780. 

16. Five men, eight months, at £80 £400. 

17. June 12. Four men for defence of Rhode Island, at £18 each, 
paid by officers and individuals £72. 

18. June 23. Four men to guard Convention troops, at £16 each, 
paid by officers and others £60. 

19. July 27. Ten men to re-enforce Gen. Sullivan at Rhode 
Island, at £18 each, paid by officers and others .... £180. 

20. 1778, Sept. 6. Four men to re-enforce the army at Pi-ovi- 
denoe in Rhode Island, £30 each £120. 

21. 1779, June 8. Two men to Providence, R.X., paid by the 
selectmen, £200 each £400. 

22. June 23. Six men to join the Continental Army, at £600 
each, paid by selectmen £3,600. 



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APPENDIX. 423 

23. July 5. Four men, three at £45 each, and one at £30 . £1 65. 

24. Sept 20. Six men at Rhode Island ; four men at £80 ea«h, 
and two at £70 eacli £460. 

25. Oct. 10. Nine men to Claverack in New York, at £170 
each £1,530. 

26. 1780, April 19. To three men to guard at Rutland for eight 
months, at £16 hard silver money each, paid by selectmen . £48. 

27. June 28. To seventeen men sis months, to join the Continen- 
tal Army, at £30 each, in silver money, paid by selectmen . £510. 

Leicester, April 16, 1784. — These may certify that the above is a 
true account of the number of men hired, and the sums of money paid 
them by the inhabitants of the town of Leicester ; and though we 
cannot produce all the receipts from the individuals who received the 
money, by reason of deaths, removals, &c. 



Joseph Sargent, 
Samuel Dennt, . 
Samuel Grken, 
William Hensiiaw, 



Selectmen 

of 
Leicester. 



No, 4. — Scale of Depreciation of " Continental Money." 

la Mr. Felt's work on the Massachusetts currency, I find two tables 
of depreciation. One appears to be based upon, assumed and arbitrary 
prices of sundry leading articles of consumption, which are thus made 
a standard of value ; and I copy from his wort the average rates of 
depreciation calculated upon all those compared with silver. 

He also gives the Massachusetts scale of depreciation agreeable 
to a law of the Commonwealth, fixing the rates at which public and 
private contracts made since the 1st January, 1777, were to be 
settled. 

In the computations I have made, and embodied in this work, I 
have adopted the Massachusetts standard, as the town would be more 
likely to refer to fliat tlian any other scale ; making a silver dollar 
tlie par or standard of comparison. 



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HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 





1777. 


1778. 


1779, 


17B0. 


Jan. . . . 


I.IG for 1 


4.50 for 1 








1.03 „ „ 


4.64 „ „ 


9.34 „ „ 






1.03 „ „ 


4.80 „ „ 






April . . 
May. . . 


1.28 „ „ 


5.19 „ „ 


12.35 „ „ 




1.37 „ „ 


5.80 „ „ 


14.14 „ „ 






1.60 „ „ 


5.91 „ „ 


16.02 „ „ 




J«ly... 


1.82 „ „ 


6.34 „ „ 


22.57 „ „ 




Aug. . . 




6.30 „ „ 


20.38 „ ,, 




Sept. . . 


2.50 „ „ 


6.90 „ „ 








3.82 „ „ 


6.90 „ „ 








3.82 „ „ 


6.97 „ „ 


23.37 „ „ 




Dec... 


4.34 „ „ 


7-47 „ „ 


30.25 „ „ 





MASSACHUSETTS SCALE. 





1777. 


3778. 


1779. 


1730. 


Jan. . . . 


1.05 for 1 


3.25 for 1 


7.42 for 1 


29.34 for 1 




1.07 „ „ 


3.50 „ „ 










3.75 „ „ 


10.00 






as?.:: 


1.13 „ „ 


4.00 „ „ 


11.04 




40.00 „ „ 




4.00 „ „ 








Juae . . 


1.20 „ „ 


4.00 „ „ 


13.42 








1.25 „ „ 


4.25 „ „ 


14.77 






Aug. . . 


1.50 „ „ 


4.30 „ „ 








Sept. . . 


1.75 „ ,, 


4.75 „ „ 


18.00 








3.75 „ „ 


5.00 „ „ 


20.00 








3.00 „ „ 


5.43 „ „ 


23.08 








3.10 „ „ 


6.34 „ „ 


23.93 







From April 1, 1780, tlie depreciation was si 
more frequently tiian once a month. Thus;- 



rapid that it was rated 



April 25 ..... . I42.0O 

„ 30 44.00 

May 3. 46.00 

„ 10 47.00 

., 15 , 49.00 

„ 20. .... , 54.00 

„ 27 60.00 

„ 30. .... . 62.00 



June 10 $64.00 

„ 15 68.00 

„ 20 69.00 

Aug. 13 70.00 

Sept. 10 71.00 

Oct. 15 72.00 

Nov. 30 74.00 

Feb. 27, 1781 .... 75.00 



I'eU'a History, Sic, pp. 186, 196 ; Lincoln's Bist. of Wvra^er, p. 125. 



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APPENDIX. 



No. 5. — Schools. 



Tlic following historical aketoh is extracted from the Eqjoi-t of tlie 
Committee of 1848-9, drawn up by Mi-. Denny: — 

When we compare our own advantages with the situation of our 
ancestors only three generations before us, in regai-d to education, 
although we may well feel grateful for our privileges, we shall find no 
great cause to boast of our improvement of them. 

In examining the early records of Leicester, and especiaUy the public 
documents comieeted with our Revolutionary history, emanating from 
our forefathers, — whose education, in many cases, was wholly obtained 
at the district schools in tfiia town, — we cannot but be surprised at the 
general intelligence, and strength of intellect, developed there, and often- 
tiuies combined with a highly cultivated mind and superior education. 

If the community now improved the advantages which they enjoy, 
as our fathers did theirs, we could not fail of having some intellectual 
giants in these days. 

As an evidence of tJieir estimation of the importance of education, 
we find the first settlers in this (own — after having, by great sacrifices, 
provided for the spiritual wants of themselves and their posterity by 
the erection of a meeting-house and the settlement of a minister — 
next turning their attention to the support of a schoolmaster to instruct 
in reading and writing, — the first and most important branches of edu- 
cation. 

The first vote on record respecting schools, after the settlement of 
the town, was on the last day of the year 1731 ; about twelve years 
after the erection of their meeting-house, and ten years after the settle- 
ment of their minister. The record informs us that " it was voted to 
choose a committee of three to provide a schoolmaster ; and tliat the 
said committee agree with a man to keep school for three mouths, and 
no longer ; and that the school be kept in three parts of the town, so 
as may be most for the conveniency of the inhabitants' children going 
to school." The sum of £10. 10s. was raised for this purpose ; equal to 
$8,76 lawful money.* Mr. John Lynd, jun., was the first teacher of 
a public school in this town. 

When it is considered, that the population to he accommodated by 
this three months' schooling was scattered over a territory of sixty-four 

* See Town Kecord, Bnok No. X, p, 13S. 



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426 HISTOILY OF LEICESTER. 

sqnare miles, — comprising the whole of the present limits of Leicester 
and Spencer, and a part of the towns of Paxton and Auburn, — tlw 
"eonveniency of the inhabitants' children" could not have been very 

The following year no "school wa' piovided and the town wi= iK 
sented before the Quaiter Ses-iions for this neglect 

The succeedmg winter the town voted to lai e just double tl e 
amount before approprid,led to pay the schoolma«ter foi his wint^^t s 
services; and the selectmen weie emiowered to hire i schoolma^tei 
Nothing, however was done by them until about i yeir afteiwirda 
when Mr. John Lynd, jun., was again hired to keep a writing and read- 
ing school, at the house of Mr. Jonathan Sargent (then living opposite 
the Catholic Church), three months, at the rate of £4 10s., or $3.75, 
per month ; " and for so much more of the year as the town shall 
employ him, at the same lay." 

The school was not, however, continued beyond the thrpe months 
agreed upon : but, during the next winter, the same person was en- 
gaged, at about the same salary, to keep the school in three different 
places, one month in each place ; with the understanding, that, " if the 
town employed him any more, they was to come on new tarms." 

This nine months of schooling was all the privilege for a public edu- 
cation which the town enjoyed for the seventeen years of its settlement 
previous to 1736 ; for, although the town was laid out in 1714, it was 
not much settled until five years afterwards. 

In 1736, we find an article in the warrant to see what the town will 
do about a schoolmaster; and another, "to see if the town will build a 
Bchoolhouse, and appoint a place to put it." 

In the transactions of the town at their next meeting, we find that 
they " voted to build a schoolhouse, 16 feet in width, 20 feet in length, 
and 6J feet between joynts ; and that it be set the north side of the 
Meeting-house, about t«n rods, in the most convenantest place." 

The location of this building, where the young ideas of many of our 
venerable forelathers were first taught to shoot, must have been a little 
north-west of the spot where the present Town Hall now stands ; * and 

* There is raason to believe that this BchoolhouBe wos not placed where the town 
looatail it, or tliat it was afterwards moved; as the venerable Mre, Hannah Phippiii 
— now Uving, at the age of eights'-eight, in WastrainBter, Vt, — says, in a recent letter 
to her nephew (Judge Washburn), she remembers that it was " an old shell of a build- 
ing," aud stood on the corner of the Common, a little east of the Meating-honse, on the 
north side of the Country Boad. 

The next sohoolhouse in this district was opposito the house of Edward Bawson 



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APPENDIX. . 427 

the woncler ia, liow theiv ideas could shoot so high as they did, when 
confined witbia the walls of a building only sis and a half feet between 
joints. 

Id looking back to this model schoolhouse, — erected before the 
community was blessed with such a multiplicity of lectures upon ven- 
tilation, and the thousand other topics of the day we live in, — and 
comparing the size and height of that structure with some of the build- 
ings erected in modem times for a similar use, we have no great cause 
to boast of our improvement in this respect. 

During this year, the town was again presented for want of a school- 
master ; but, when we compai'e the amount of money required lo be 
raised at that time with the very limited means of the population, we 
may well charge their neglect in this matter rather to their destitution 
than to then want of intLiest in the subject of education. 

They laised, duimg the following winter, nine pounds, to pay Mr. 
Joshua Nichols toi keepmg a school in two different places, for one 
month each but, for some cause, the selectmen did not see fit to em- 
ploy him for more than one month in all ; perhaps owing, in part, to 
their havmg to piy the sum of £4. 12s. for expenses incurred at the 
Quarter Sessions foi want ot a schoolmaster the previous year. 

The year 1T37 biought with it, to the inhabitants of this town, an 
uncommon imount ol tasCb, pailly on account of having built galleries 
and made general repaira on their Meeting-house, and settled a new 
minister, the year pievious It was probihly on this account that the 
schoolhouse nas not built (his yeat, as was contemplated. 

Ihe sum of eighteen pounds wat voted to pay a schoolmaster ; but 
only a put of it was expended The matter being left to the select- 
men, a inastei was engaged. But it appears that, after about six weeks, 
the school was discontinued : as we find, among tlie expenses of the 
town, five pounds paid to John Lynde, jun., for schooling one month ; 
and £2. lis. 8d. allowed to Joshua Nichols " for keeping school ten 
days, and for answering as schoolmaster the last summer." 

So iir appears, that, by voting to have the school kept at the house 
of Joshua Nichols, they contrived to have a nominal schoolmaster a part 
of the lime, to satisfy the law, and keep clear of the Quarter Sessions. 

Esq., on the spot where the brick card factory now stands, belonging to the estate of 
the iate Col. Joseph D. Sargent. 

The third was bnilt about two rods west of the present dwelling-house of Cheney 
Hatch, Esq. I and was demolished in IBS8, whan the present building was ereoted on lliB 
the Clappville Road. 



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428 HISTORY Of ],EICESTER. 

It is probable that the BchooHiouse was built during the summer of 
1738, as the last we hear about providing a place for the school was 
for the previous winter. When the town iiret voted the money to build 
this house, they raised only forty pounds, with the proviso, that, "if 
there be an overplus, it was to lay in die treasury, and be disposed of 
by the town." 

We find, by the account of the treasurer afterwards, that the whole 
cost of the building was nearly fifty per cent more than had been 
anticipated, or ^67. 8s. 2d., old tenor; equal to $47.84. During that 
year, they had about three months' schooling. 

As soon as the new schoolhousa was erected, we find the town pro- 
viding with greater liberality for the education of their children, not 
only in reading and writing, but also in some of the higher branches. 

In I7S9, Mr. Samuel Coolidge was paid thirty-eight pounds for 
teaching a grammar school six months. This sum, aUbough an ad- 
vance upon former wages of school-teachers, was only $1.32 per week ; 
but, as the town provided board in addition, it might be considered a 
fmr compensation, when a laboring-man was allowed thirty-three cenis 
per day for himself, and half that sum for a yoke of oxen, on the high- 
way. The salary of their ministei, af this time, was £150 (old tenor), 
or $125. 

For a few years previous to this time, the population had increased 
very much ; and the portion of the to^vii whiLh is now Spencer had 
been settled by a large numbei of fimilies, who weie beginning to feel 
dissatisfied with paying taxfa forthe suppoitof the mimstiy and school, 
which were of comparatively bttle advantage to them. In 1741, an 
article was inserted in the warrant, "to see if the town will allow the 
school to be moved from place to place, as may be thought pioper;" 
and another, " to see if the town wUl excuse those persons who are seU 
tied in that part of the said town, called tlie proprietors' part, from 
beintr taxed, for the fulure, to the mbister and school in said town." 

The town voted to remove the school from place to place, " as shall 
be thought proper by the selectmen ; " but not to release any, portion 
of the inhabitants from their taxes. 

The school was not, howevei", removed this year; and the same re- 
quest was made in the spring of 1742 ; and the town voted to remove 
the school into the four quarters of the town, « so as to have the remote 
ends of the town have some benefit of the same;" and the selectmen 
hired Mr. John Gibbons for eighty-nine pounds to keep school through 
the whole year. 



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APPENDIX. 429 

In IZi.t, the town voted to keep the school in six places in the 
town, — two montlis in a place ; and raised one hundred pounds, old 
tenor, for the puipose. 

In that and the following year, Mr. Adam Eullard was employed 
as teacher ; and, for the last three months, his salary was £18. 10s. 
(old tenor), "and the keeping his horse in the bargain." 

From this time onward, for the next twenty years, no great change 
was made in the schools in this town. Each year, about the same 
amount of schooling was enjoyed ; and the schools were moved inlo 
different parts of the town to accommodate all its inhabitants. The 
average amount expended yearly was about forty pounds {lawful 
money), or $133.33. After the district of Spencer was set off in 
1753, about the same amount was expended as before ; and, of course, 
the remaining inhabitants had a belter opportunity. 

About ten years before the commencement of the Revolutionary 
War, quite a revolution took place in the school system here. A 
committee, chosen by the town in March, 1765, reported in favor of 
dividing the town into school districts ; and each district, or " quai-ter," 
■was to build their own schoolhouse. 

There was, however, found to be difficulty in some of the districts 
about locating their schoolhouses ; and, at ihe town-meeting in the fall 
of the same year, the whole subject was again brought up, and a dif- 
ferent arrangement was made. The town voted to raise £120 to build 
live schoolhouses, to be located in the East, South-east, West, North- 
west, and North-east Districts. 

In the East, South-east, and West Districts, the inhabitants were 
divided as to the location of the buildmg ; and the town chose a com- 
mittee of three men, who were not residents in the district, to locate 
each of these schoolhouses, in case the inhabitants of the district did 
not generally agree among themselves. They also voted that tJie 
money assessed in each district should be expended on the schoolhouse 
in that district ; thus throwing the expense of building upon the dis- 
tricts, as at first, but taking the management into the hands of the 

A committee was then chosen in eiieh district to estimate (he cost 
of their building, and receive subscriptions — either in money, mate- 
rials, or labor — for each man's assessment, to be provided, under the 
direction of the committee, at a stated time ; and all the schoolhouses 
were to be completed hy the first day of October, 1767. 

The Centre District was not included in this arrangement, as they 



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430 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

had already a schooIIioQse belonging to the town within their liiails. 
The town, however, at this time, chose a committee to sell this house 
to the hest advantage. 

At the next March meeting, it was voted that the assessments of all 
persons who had not furnished materials, &c., as proposed, be commit- 
ted to the constable for collection in money, to be paid to the several 
districts where it belonged. So much dissatisfaction was manifested, 
in some of the districts, about the location of their sclioo! houses, that 
they were not all completed until about five years after this plan was 



In the year 1766, the first female teacher was employed in our 
public schools. In that year, the town appropriated seventy pounds, 
lawful money, for schools ; and voted to have eighteen months' school- 
ing in all, which was three months in each district. The selectmen 
were " desired to appropriate one-third part of this money in hiring 
schooling mistresses in each quarter;" and, if any of the districts were 
dissatisfied with this arrangement, they had the privilege of faking 
their portion in money. 

In 1774, the town voted to accept the report of a committee, recom- 
mending a new schoolhouse in the South-west District ; one, near Mr, 
Natlian Snow's, in the North District; and one, near Mr. Nathan Her- 
sey's, in the West District; and, when these were compleled, the town 
was in possession of nine schoolhouses ; and no great change has been 
made in their location from that time to the present. 

In 1776, a revision of the school districts was made, and the names 
of the sefei-al heads of fiimilies in each district recorded on the town- 
books. 

For about fifteen years from this time, the town raised, annually, 
an amount about equal to $133 for the support of common schools ; 
besides a donation of £500, in 1783, to the Academy. 

In the year 1789, the town agreed to make a general and thorough 
reformation among the old schoolhouses ; and raised the sum of £400, 
to he expended in building and repairing schoolhouses. Each district 
was to furnish their own funds, and to build a new house, of repair 
the old one, to the acceptance of a committee of eight persons, chosen 
by the town ; and, if the districts neglected to do it, the committee were 
to do it for them. 

Great opposition was manifested to this measure, and the town was 
much excited on the subject For the next two years, they held fre- 
quent meetings ; but at length all things settled down quietly. It was 



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about this time that the schoolhouses in the South and Centre Districts 
were built ; botli of which are now demolished, and others built in their 
stead. 

At this time, the Academy was struggling for existence, and was 
at times forced to give up its school for want of funds. The town, feel- 
ing deeply interested in ite success, generously appropriated Afty pounds 
for the support of a preceptor in 1789 ; which, with many individual 
donations from the inhabitants of this and other places, enabled it to 
survive these early struggles ; and it has since continued to flourish, 
with increasing popularity, until the present time, — a blessing, not only 
to our youth, but to thousands from every portion of our couutry. 

In 1794, the town sold at auction, to Pliny Earle, twenty acres of 
land adjoining the farm of Capt. Daniel Kent, and known by the name 
of the School Lot ; which was laid out by the original proprietor of 
the town, as required by their charter, for the benefit of schools ; and 
had been kept by tlie town about seventy-flve years. 

It is unnecessary to follow up the particular history of our schools 
through the last fifty years, as many of those now present have taken 
an active part in their management j and others, who are younger, have 
received much of their education in them during that time. 

Suffice it to say, that the town has continued to raise its annual ap- 
propriation, and increased it from year to year, as its population and 
wealth have increased, until the present time ; and it is much to the 
credit of this community, that ever since the erection of the first 'school- 
house, one hundred and ten years ago, it has never, for a single year, 
neglected this duty. 

Even during the Revolutionaiy struggle, — when the currency, at 
one time, was so much depreciated in value, that it required an appro- 
priation of £1,710 (Continental money) to support the schools for one 
year, the nominal value of which was $5,700, — the schools were con- 
tinued as usuaL 

During the last year, in addition to the fifteen hundred dollars raised 
by the town, the amount paid for tuition by its citizens, at the Academy, 
was $560.54; which, with the amount received from (he School Fund 
of the State, makes a total of about $2,140 expended for education. 

In thus reviewing the past history of our schools, the reflection is 
forced upon our minds, that, with the improvements of modern times, 
many of the good old fashions of former days are passing away. All 
changes are not improvements, and all improvements are not without 
their evils. 



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4o-J HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

In the current whitih is sweeping down witli resistless force into the 
sea of oblivion the manners and customs, the habits and practices, of 
our early fathers, we have reason to fear, that, amidst the rubbish and 
useless things which give way for real improvements, some of their 
more solid and valuable qualities have been succeeded hy modern ex- 
periments of doubtful value. The alterations in our schoolhousea, by 
adding somewhat lo their height, so that they measure a few more 
inches " between joynts," and the substitution of stoves for the old- 
fasliioned fireplaces, and a few other changes in the construction of our 
buildings, may be considered improvements. But even these improve- 
ments are not unmixed with evils. We do not now see how we 
could live comfortably, or even affoi-d to live at all, if the old, wide- 
mouthed Bchoolhouse chimney was consuming its half a cord of wood 
per day ; but then it was not so much of an evil, when wood was con- 
tributed freely and without measure by the farmers in the district, and 
was chopped by the schoolboys at noontime, instead of wrestling, for 
exercise. With such a ventilator to our schoolrooms, we need not 
understand any thing about oxygen or nitrogen ; and the ruddy cheeks 
and bright countenances of the young, in those days, would compare 
fevorably with the pale faces of our school-children, who are compelled 
to breathe the close and unwholesome air of some of our schoolrooms 
for six hours in the day, through one-half the days of their childhood. 
But we trust this evil will be temporary, and that our schoolrooms will 
soon be ventilated aa well as warmed. 

In the cultivation of the mannei-s of our youth, in the present day, 
the field seems to have been entirely changed from the schoolroom to the 
ballroom ; and, in outward appearances at least, a stranger would not 
notice a great increase of pohteness, in these days, over olden times. 
There are even now feome old-fashioned people, wlio would rather see 
the respect and deference which was once paid to the committee-man 
or the minister, — when, on eutermg and leaving the village school, 
there was a voluntary uprising of its members ; or the respectful bow 
and courtesy of the achool-clnldren m the street, while passing their 
superiors in age, — than to see the whole subject of the cultivation of 
the manners of our jouth banished from the school-room. 

The improveinentb in school-books is another invention of modern 
timeSj not unmixed with evil. Though it might have been some objec- 
tion to the good old days of " Dilworth's Spelling-book " and the " Only 
Sure Guide to the English Tongue," that the scholar would, after a 
while, get them all by heart; yet this objection would at length he 



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removed by their advancement to a higher class in the " Understand- 
ing Reader," and then to the "Scoffs Lessons;" which, to be sure, 
would sometimes be rather fiimihar before the large scholars became 
one and twenty. But even this objec^on is by some thought to be a 
less evil than the continual change which is going on in our schools, 
and the great inconvenience and expense to which parents are now 
subjected, by the variety of books in our differenE districts, and the 
introduction of new books in the various branches of education, before 
a single copy of the old ones has been worn out. 

We would not be understood to condemn the practice of exchanging 
school-books, when evident improvements are made in them ; but we 
do consider the great multi plica! ion of these books, and the frequent 
changes made in our schools, to be productive of much evil as well as 
some good. At the present day, when so many school-books are urged 
by their respective authors upon teachers and school-committees, we 
think the good of the community would be promoted by great caution 
on their part, and a determination to make no changes without strong 
evidence that the public good requires it. 

The present is truly an age of invention. While great improve- 
ments have been made in the mechanic arts by labor-saving machinecy, 
and the intercourse among men has been increased, by more rapid and 
commodious modes of travel, a hundred-fold ; and, in the conveyance 
of intelligence from one part of the world to another, distance has 
almost been annihilated by the magnetic telegraph, — the community 
are inclined to become restless under the old order of things, and desire 
to see the world malting progress in every thing with railroad speed, 
if not with lightning velocity. 

But, in the process of education, we have yet discovered no method 
so safe and sure to make ripe scholars and sound and sensible men 
and women as the good old way of hai-d study, close application, and 
patient drilling in the solid branches of education which are taught in 
our district schools. There has never yet been, and we have no reason 
to suppose there ever will be, discovered any royal road to learning. 

JOHs NEI,so^f, 
Moses Harrington, 
Joseph A. Dekny, 



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' LEICESTER. 



The following is a Statement of tlie Amount raised for Schooling : — 



17*6. 


£W0 old tenor. 


1780 


^£1710 lawful money. 


ISIB. 


S600fed6i-d 


money. 




100 „ „ 




. 40 silTor money. 










120 n .. 












1748! 




I7S8 


■ « „ 


1818. 


eoo „ 




1749. 


aoo " !! 


1T84 


■ 40 „ 


1S1». 


600 „ 






80 lawful money. 












1752! 


SO » » 


1787 


! 40 ," " 


1831. 
1822. 


600 ;; 


;; 


1TS3. 


40 ", "„ 


1788 


■ 40 ., 






















17B6! 






! 40 " ", 


1826. 






1768. 




1791 


■ 40 „ 


1826. 


. 600 „ 




1769! 


20 '.' !! 


1792 
1794 


■ 60 „ 


IS38! 


800 " 


I 


1760. 


40 !! " 


179B 


! 80 " ". 










48 „ „ 




■ 80 „ 














. 80 „ 








1763! 




1798 


.$B0O federal money. 




. 600 „ 




1784. 


50 ",, ", 




. 300 „ 






















1760 ! 










. 1000 „ 




1787. 




1802 


. 400 „ 


1S37. 


. 1000 „ 




1768. 


60 ", ", 


1803 


■ 400 „ 




. 1000 „ 




1789. 
1T70. 


10 » 


leOB 


! 400 " ;; 


184o! 


! 1200 ." 




1T71. 




1806 


! 400 ',! " 


1S41. 


. 1200 „ 




ma. 








1842. 


. 1200 „ 




1773. 
















TO f sf 






1844. 






1776! 


!! :; ft 






1845. 






1778, 


ISll 


. 400 „ 


1846. 


. 1300 „ 




1T77. 


90 „ ( l| 


1812 


. 400 „ 




. 1200 „ 




1778. 


108 ;, 












1T79. 




1814 


■ 600 „ 


1849. 


■ 1™ " 





No. &. ^- Insinuations, ^c, oftJie Town. 

No. 1. Oct. 17, 1765. — At a meeting, regularly warned and as- 
sembled, of the inliabitants of the town of Leicester, and districts of 
Spencer and Paxton, — Voted to give instructions to their representa- 
tive ; and that Daniel Henshaw, Esq., Thomas Denny, and Jonathan 
Ifewhall of Leicester, Capt. Benjamin Johnson and Joshua Lamb of 
Spencer, Capt. Samuel Brown and Jonathan Knights of Paxton, be 
the committee to draw up the instructions. Voled, That the instruc- 
tions drawn up by the committee be accepted and recorded ; which are 
as follows : — 



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AFrESDix. 485 

T C pt Toiii B H Keprei nt, t f tl b T of L caster a d D ttr ct "f 

fapa ce and Piston 

Siii — lo 1 being cJosen by the inhihitanta of the ifoicaail lown 
tud (Iislncts to rej.ipsent them in Gfnen] Assembly i a strong (esti 
moni of the confidence they place in your abilily and inleguty By 
this cl oice thcj hive put you in power lo act in their pubLc concerns 
in general is ^our own leaaon shall diclate. We your constiluenfs 
now in general meeting a sembled notwithstanding esteem it our nght, 
and at this ciitical juncture of time and affau^ our duty, to give you 
our instructions m some important matteis which may come before 
you within the lemaining pait of the year And sii we expect of 3ou 
that yon will with decent firmness and unshaken lesolution u^e )oui 
power and influence to asseit and maintain our natural rights — onr 
lights as Englishmen which deuve to us as subjects of Great Biitain 
and those granted to us by charter You are sensible, sir that tbw 
Piosinceha^e been at a \eiy gieat expense in canying on the Hte 
w 11 which hath involved (hem in i very greit burthen of debt, undei 
wl ich they aie now laboring and how exceeding difficult it is for your 
constituents to pay the part thereof that sa annually as. essed on Ihem 

We expect theiefore thit you be i ery frugal in your grants of the 
governments money and we must lecommend to you the sin teat 
care that thp money be drawn out of the treasuiy iccoid n„ to the 
appiopiwtion theieof by the Gei eral A«sembb md that with the 
utmost firmness, you remonstiate againat its being dnwn lut foi any 
other end, as virtually taxing the people contrary to Ihe Constitnlion 
and snbveisive of one of their darhng nghts 

Ws cannot help reminding jou of some lecent a well is toimei 
instances heieof whch ne esteem truly gnevous ml as we aie thus 
laboring undet such a gnevous burthen of lebt which we iheerfully 
brought on ourselves in largely contnbuting to the issistance of Great 
Bntain our mother country against her and our enemies in the late 
war — which under the favoiable smiles and diieeliona ot Heiven 
mide such gionous acquisition to her kingdom and revenue — 

It IS Iheiefoie with inexpressible gnef and concern we hue had 
repeated tixes levied on us by the Parliament of Great Briliin sinLe 
the conclusion ot the peace mire e pecully an act levying ceilain 
stamps and dutie on the Colonies and Phntalions in Ametica With 
gieat respect and leference to that lugust assembly we cannot but 
think that the a«d act is contraiy to the nghts of mankuil and subver 
sive of the English Con titution and hath a diiect tendency to bring us 



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436 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

into . «.» Of .bject .k.ery and ,.!«.lage. We look on onr.d™.- 
hongl. ....led « . .hon..nd leagne.' di...nee f.™ G,... B.,..,n .nd 
sn..j.ct .0 .hen. in .11 eon,.i.ntio.,d n,e..ur.. - ye. to ta . p.K of .ta 
Brili.l. Empire ; lh«t »e 1,». the me right, espeeially inherent in «. 
,ill, .he inhibitant, of Ih. tad ; that oor pr«lece,sor. pnreha..d their 
land, here of the native., and .et.led thenuelvo. thereon, and main- 
Uined .lmo.1 a conlinnal v-at wilh the neighboring .avag.., without 
any ehargo to Great Briton: yet, notwithetanding, we have ata,. 
looked on her in.orest oom, and have dways che.rfnlly eontnboted K. 
her a..i.«nco again., her enemi.., and are .till willing to do it aeeord- 
Lg .0 .r ahiht? And, a. w. thn. e.peo. to bear part of the barthen. 
wah tliem, .0 .. enpeet to share in the privilege, whieli .0 happily 
adom and di.tiogui.h the Engliih Government. 

Wo eeteem it an ...ential pmileg. of Briton, to be ta»d by their 
own repre..n...i... ; and a. we nnder.Oind it a maxim of the Engli.h 
Con..itntio„,th..n„„.nean be .epai,t.d from "i. P~P««y ""' Jy 
hi, own eon.ent or f.nlt, the .ame right, we claim and have internally 
enjoyed ever ,inee the .ettling of thi, hind. And now, „r yon are 
,. Lfble that we had no voiee in Parli.men. in m.kmg Oi. S.amp Ac^ 
which levie. ™eh a heavy t«z on «S and i. cpeciallj bnrlhen.ome on 
re.iaowa.dfa.he,le.. J..,we andc.and w. could no. be lie.id 
b, peaiion when .aid act wa, pending m Paihamenl, owing, a. .. 
apprehend to «ime lanll m oui agency 

Wo not ouly eomplam of the unom.t.lutional manner of making 
,.,d kw, bnt the grievou, burthen hid on n. thereby , and if it .hould 
be .»ent»i, will prove inmou. to «., and bimg n, int. a .tate of b g- 
gaiT and gieatly deliimenial, 1. not rmnou< to Great Bnl.in Bnt, 
Si what alam. „. «o.t of all i- the nnp.ialleled .tieteh given 
,0 admi™l.y j.r,.dic.ion, by which eveij man a. the "P""" j' » 
mahcion. inf.imcr, i. liable to be carried a tli.n^d mUc. b fm 
. Court of Admir.l,j,-lrom wbero he ,. known, and fiom al Ihi. 
lr,end„-and there tried without ,my,and ameiced ^J "« ■■'>'"? 
mdge of thai com., »id .aied wi.h co,t «, he pieaec.h , and i. the 
partj have no. wherewi.h to .at..fy the -ame, to die in pii.on in an 
Lknow. land, wi.hou. tr.cnd. to bury him Thi. " «PP'*"J ° 
be t™l7 deplorable, ».d diiectly repugnant to Magna Cbaila, bj .in h 
no freeman .hall be taken and impri~o„ed, or dis«»ed of hi. treeh.ld 
or libertie, or free cn,tom. noi pae.ed upon nor condemned bnt by 
the kwlnl judgment ol bi> peei„ oi by the hiw of the l.nd, and it ,1» 
jndge of .aid eourt .honld, eithe, through weakne^ or wickedii««, or 



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APPEISDIX. 4'j I 

wiclicdness of tlic infovmer or evidences, — wdo to liim may be iiii- 
known, — condemn the innocent, (here is no appeal but to the Parlia- 
ment of Great Britain, which not one of your constituents will be able 
to prosecute. 

Never was this country brought into such a strait before. Such is 
our loyalty to the king, — whom we revere next under God, — our 
veneration for the Parliament of Great Brilain, whom we esteem as 
the most august assembly of men on earth, and to whose constitutional 
laws we owe all obedience; and it is contrary even to our desires (o 
disobey eitlier, but would sacrifice our lives and fortunes in their de- 
fence ; yet such is our love to the English Constitution of govern- 
ment, — the best calculated on earth, both for the honor of the prince 
and the freedom and happiness of the subject, — in which, we apprehend, 
we have a right and share. The love we have to our fellow-subjects 
of Great Britain, Ihe love and duty we owe to oui-selves and posterity, 
yea, the first instinct in nature, — the great law of self-preservation, — 
all appear contrary to said act. 

In this dilemma we are brought ; and how to extricate ourselves we 
know not. To disobey any just and equitable law of Parliameni, we 
have no inclination ; to obey the law, we must sacrifice our liberty and 
every earthly thing that is dear to us, and bring ourselves and posterity 
into slavery and beggary, and open a door for vice and villany, and to 
be the final ruin of the whole English continent. 

We lament the convulsions we are already thrown into, and we 
detest and abhor some late tumultuous lavages that have been com- 
mitted, especially on the 26th of August last, wherein his Honor our 
Lieutenant-Governor suffered Mhich we apprehend, was perpetrated 
by foreigners and ruffians taking occasion by the present commotions. 
As these, sir, are the present sentiments of "aid act, and the consequent 
of the execution, we must enjoin it upon >ou by no means to give >our 
consent to any measures whatever thtt m»y imply oui willingness to 
submit to it, or to be any ways aiding or asaiiting in putting the same 
in execution; but, in every propei measure we expect jou appeir 
against it : and, as the stamp-officer in this as well aa the neighboiins; 
governments have declined executing their respective offices, we le- 
commend it to you to use your influence, that the business of the 
government be carried on as usual, until the resolution of Parliament 
upon our dutiful and humble petition be known. 

Voted, Tliat tlie following additional instructions be given to Capt. 
Brown ; viz. : — 



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4dO HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

We cannot at tliia time help expressing oar surprise, that his Ex- 
cellency the Governor, in his speech to the General Assembly on the 
twenty-fifth day of September last, should intimate as though the 
Proyince was concerned in the late tumnlts at Boston, and thereby 
represent us an undutiful and disloyal people. We take it exceeding 
hard that such iutimations should come from that chair ; which may 
have a tendency to set us in a bad and false light at home. 

We expect, therefore, that you take all proper measures to set our 
innocency in a proper and clear light, and the abhorrence we have of 
such outrjiges, when not one-thousandth part of the Province knew any 
thing of it; and, as we have an abhorrence of such outrages, so we 
expect that you by no means consent to have the damages to the suf- 
ferers made up to them out of the public treasury, but that you use 
your influence to the contrary, lest it become a bad precedent, and 
prove an encouragement to such riotous practices for the future ; 
and we think, though recommended as a piece of justice, yet cannot 
be done hy the government on any other footing but as a deed of 
mercy ; which, if the perpetrators ai-e not able, might more properly be 
mended to those who are able by contribution. 



No. 2. & pt 11 ITliS — Ihp town of LucLatei in toim -meeting 
assembled bept I'^, 1768, in consequence ot the alaiming crisis of 
affairs ; and on motion from the town of Boston, afler choa^mg Capt. 
Brown, modeiator, enteitd into the folloumg resolves — 

Principally, and hist ot all, Ri'sohed Th'it bis most gracious 
Majesty Kmg Geni^e the Thud is oui most nahtful liege loi-d and 
sovereign, to whom we one all obedience it oui king, and th.tt, with 
our lives and ioitunes, ne will defend him and the Piotestint succes- 
sion in his royal house, which we heartily wish Ya\y list as long as tUe 
sun and moon endure, and foi which we will not cease to otfer up 
our hearty prayers (o Almighty God, and that he would bring to nought 
and confusion all his majesty's secret as well as more open enemies. 

Resolved, That we esteem Ihe English Constitution of government 
well calculated both for the dignity of the king and the freedom of the 
subject, as founded in nature, and asserted in the great charter of 
England called Magna Charta, in tlie Bill of Bights, and other char- 
ters of royal authority. 

Resolved, That we esteem lights belong to us as free-born fuhjects 
of his royal Majesty the King of Gre^ Britain. 



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APrENDis. 439 

Besolved, That we wjO at iW times grant such aid to his Majesty, 
even to the sacrifiLing of oui hves, as the necpssity of the case may 
require. 

Resolved, That it is fir fiom our deene !o object against any act of 
Parliament but sucli as infringe upon our lights 

Resolved, That we look upon the lite dissolution of the Genei-al 
Court of the Province, and thf delaying to call another, as a real 
grievance ; as they are the isseml ly of the estates of the Province, 
and guardians of the people's tights, to whom we might apply, and on 
\vhom we might depend for ledreas of all wronjija here, and to con- 
sult measures to avoid difficulties thit might be coming upoQ us from 
abroad. 

Being deprived of such a courts — so especial in our Constitution, 
— on a motion made fiom the town of Boston to hold a convention at 
Boston on the 22d cunent,— 

Voted, That we will choose a man to go to Bo-ton, to join those 
that may meet theie at the time aforesaid, to consult such measures 
(without any authority) as may come before them 

Then, by vote, chose Cipt John Biown tor the purpose aforesaid. 

Then voted to guf inatrucfions to Cipt Brown !o give his advice 
and use his inSuent^ thit ill rash meisures be prevented, and every 
mild one may be idopted th^t miy be coiiBistent with Englishmen 
claiming their rights 

DiXiEL Hc-SsSiiA-Vi, Moderator. 



No. 3. Jan. 4, 1773. — On the second article- — -a letter from the 
town of Boston, and a pamphlet, wherein the rights of tlie colonists, 
and the infringements thereof, are set forth — being read, — 

Voled, That the rights, as there stated, do belong to the inhabitants 
of this Province. 

Voted, That they will choose a committee of nine persons to fake 
the matter into consideration, and report, as soon as may be, what tbey 
think proper for this town to do thereon. 

Then voted Capt. Brown, of Leicester; Capt. "Witt and Capt. 
Brown, of Paxton ; Mr. Moses Livermore and Joshua Ivamb, of 
Spencer; William Henshaw and Hezekiah Ward, of Leicester; and 
Willaid Mower, of Paxton, — be the committee for the above pur- 

The committee, as appointed on the second article, reported several 



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44:U HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

resolves, and instructions to tlie representative ; which, after seve- 
ral amendments, were accepted unanimuusiy ; and are as follows : — 

1st, Sesolved, Tbat we Jo bear true allegiance to our rightful 
Bovereign King George the Third, of Great Britain, &c. ; and are, and 
always have been, ready to hazard our lives in defence of his person, 
crown, and dignity. 

2d, Sesolved, That we have a right io all the liberties and privileges 
of subjects hoin within the realm of England; and that we esteem and 
prize them so highly, that we think it our duty to risk our lives 
and fortunes in defence thereof. 

3d, Sesolved, That the Parliament of Great Britain has enacted 
law* subveraive of our rights and privileges, in a particular manner, in 
rai'-mg a levenue in the Colonies, without their consent j thereby de- 
priving us of that right of keeping our own money until we think fit 
personally, or by our representative, to dispose of the whole, or any 
part thereof. 

4th, Sesolved, That neither the British Parliament, nor any other 
power on earth, has a right to dispose of one farthing of our money, or 
any of our property, without our consent in person or by our represen- 
tative. 

5th, Sesolved, That the canying any person or persons out of this 
Province, beyond the seas or ebewhere, for any supposed or real crime 
committed here, is against Magna Charta, and unconstitutional. 



"We, the freeholders and othei inhabitants of the town and distnols 
aforesaid, legally assembled in town meeting after having lalien into 
serious considei ilion the almost m upportable hardships thia people 
have been long laboring Hndei by a con-,tant and unifoim plan of op- 
pression, — wheiebv mtny of oui natural and constitutional nghts are 
wrested from us — think it oui duti ti communicate to you out senti 
ments thereon, not loubting but jiu will heaitily contui with ua 
therein. 

It is needless at this time to retapitulite all our nghh and the in 
fringements thereof, seeing they are so fairly set forth by the inhabi 
tants of the town of Boston, to whom we leturn our sincere thanks for 
the care they have ever shown of preserving our rights and privileges, 
of which their late circular-letter is a recent instance. 

When we consider that our property is ta,ken from us by the 



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APPESDIX. 441 

British Pailiaraent without our consent, our Goremor rendered inde- 
pendent of the grants of the General Assembly of this Province, and 
the Judges of the Superior Court made wholly dependent on the crown 
for their support (whereas they ought to he as independent as possible 
of prince and people, in order to an impartial administration of justice), 
what have we not to fear? The evils arising from this last innovation 
are so plain and obvious, even to a common capacity, that we shall 
forbear dwelling upon them, and only give you the opinion of a 
patriotic writer: "What must be our chance, when the laws of life 
and death are to he spoken by judges totally dependent on the crown; 
sent, perhaps, from Great Britain ; tilled with British prejudices, and 
backed by a standing army ? " And again : " If we reflect that the 
judges of these courts are to be during pleasure ; that they are to have 
adequate provision made for them, which is to continue during their 
complaisant behavior ; and that they may be strangers to tliese Colonies, 
— what an engine of oppression may this authority be in such 

It lias been said in behalf of the judges of the Superior Court, that 
the annual grants made them have not been adequate to their services, 
and the expenses attending them. 

We are of the same opinion ; and, as their time is mostly spent in 
the service of tiiis Province, they ought to receive therefrom an honor- 
able support during their good behavior. 

These, sir, are a few of the many grievances we complain of; and, as 
you are sufficiently acquainted with the rest, we need not enumerate 
tbem. We think it advisable, and would have you use your interest, 
that the Honorable House of Representatives send a dutiful and loyal 
petition to the King, and a remonstrance to the Commons, of Great 
Britain ; hoping they may succeed, as the Earl of Hillsborough is re- 
moved fi-om his office, and succeeded by a nobleman who has hitherto 
appeared friendly to the rights of the Colonies,* We would also 
recommend to you to promote, as far as in you lies, an intercourse 
with the sister Colonies on this continent on these matters, as we are 
all embarked in one common cause, that the joint wisdom of the whole 
be exerted in removing the grievances so justly complained of. 

In line, when we reflect on the toils our forefathers underwent in the 
settlement of this country, the dangers to which they stood continually 
exposed from an insidious and bloodthirsty enemy, and the blood and 



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442 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

treasures they expended, we think ourselves justly entitled to all the 
calamities an envious despot can heap upon us, should we tamely and 
pusillanimously suffer the execution of tliem. It would be despising 
the bounties of our Creator, au infamous prostitution of ourselves, and 
a total disregai-d of posterity. 

Thus we have briefly given you our sentiments, and trust you will 
use your utmost efforts for a speedy vedi'ess of our grievances ; and 
may the Almighty crown them with ; 



No. 4. May 19, 1773. — At a meeting of the inhabitants of 
Leicester, and the districts of Spencer and Paxton, made choice of Mr. 
Thomas Denny to represent tbem in the Great and General Court the 
year ensuing, and gave him tbe following instruelious; — 

Mr. Thomas DEHar. 

SiE, — Tou have, for several years past, successively received the 
almost unanimous voice of us, your constituents, to represent us in 
the Great and General Court, or Assembly, of this Province. And it 
is because we have found you faithful in our service, willing to receive 
our instmctions, and gladly to execute our commands, that we have 
now given you a fresh teslimoay of the confidence we repose in you by 
once more electing you our repi-esentative ; whereby we have intrusted 
you with the preservation of all our rights and privileges, which we 
hold as dear as our lives. 

As we have lately given you instructions on many points, it is 
needless to repeat them ; and shall only remind you of a few things 
which now occur to our minds. 

The choosing a Standing Committee of Correspondence and Inquiry, 
agreeable to the request of the worthy and i-espectable House of Bur- 
gesses of Virginia, we think highly commendable ; and desire that you 
use your interest therefor in the General Assembly, hoping the example 
win be followed by all the other Assembhes on the continent ; well 
knowing, that, by a firm union alone, we shall be able to render 
abortive the machinations of our enemies, and establish our liberties 
on a solid foundation. 

And, as we have the highest i-egard for (so as even to revere the 
name of) liberty, we cannot behold but with the greatest abhorrence 
any of our fellow- creatures in a state of slavery. 

Therefore we strictiy enjoin you to use your utmost influence that 



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a stop may be put to the alaTe-lrade by the inhabitants of this Province ; 
which, we apprehend, may be effected by one of these two ways : either 
by laying a heavy duty on every negro imported or brought from 
Africa or elsewhere into this ProvJoce ; or by making a law, that every 
negro brought or imported as aforesaid should be a free man or woman 
as soon as they come within the jurisdiction of if ; and that every negro 
child that shall be born in said government afler the enacting such law 
should be free at the same age that the children of white people are ; 
and, from the time of their birth tUl they are capable of earning their 
living, to be maintained by the towD ia which they are bom, or at the 
expease of the Province, as shall appear most reasonable. 

Thus, by enacting such a law, in process of time will the blacks 
become free ; or, if the Honorable House of Representatives shall think 
of a more eligible method, we shall be heartily glad of it. But whether 
yoB can justly take away or free a negro from his master, who fairly 
purchased him, and (although illegally ; for such is the purchase of any 
person against their consent, unless it be for a capital offence) which 
the custom of this country has justified him in, we shall not determine ; 
but hope that unerring Wisdom will direct you in this and all your other 
important undertakings. 

No. 5. Dec. 27, 1773. — At a meeting of the town of Leicester, 
and the districts of Spencer and Paxton, legally convened at Leicester 
aforesaid on the twenty-seventh day of December, 1773, the following 
resolves were unanimously passed : — 

1st, Sesohed, That we bear a due allegiance to his Majesty King 
George the Third ; and are ready at all times, at the hazard of our lives 
and interests, to defend his person, crown, and dignity. 

2d, Resolved, That the inhabitants of this Province Imve, and ever 
Lad, the sole right of disposing of their peKons and estates as they 
might think proper. 

3d, Resolved, That the British Parliament, in an act passed soon 
afVer the repeal of the Stamp Act, claiming a right over the properties 
of his majesty's subjects in America, is a usurpation of authority to 
which no power on earth is entitled, and contrary to the fundamental 
principles of our happy Constitution, 

4th, Besdved, That the laying a duty ou any article imported into 
this Province from Great Britain is an exercise of that unjustly ais- 
aumed prerogative, and loudly calls upon every friend to his country to 
oppose so destructive a measure; and that we will oppose to the ut- 



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444 HISTORY OF LKICESTER. 

most of our power, at the hazai-d of our lives and fortunes, any imposi- 
tions unconstitutionally laid upon us. 

5th, Resolved, That we will not use any tea in our families, or 
suffer any to be consumed therein, while loaded with a tribute contrary 
to our consent ; and that whoever shall sell any of that destructive herb 
shaU be deemed by us inimical to the rights of his country, as endea- 
voring ta counteract the designs of those who are zealous for its true 
interests. 

6th, Mesohed, That we highly approve of the measnres entered into 
by our brethren ia Boston and the towns adjacent at their late meet- 
ings, and retarn them our hearty thanks for the firmness and intrepidity 
so conspicMOUS in them, when, despising the insolence of office, they 
discovered to the world a true sense of the blessings which our Consti- 
tution affords, and a noble resolution to defend them. 

After which, it was Voted, That a committee of fourteen persons be 
appointed for the inspecting any teas that may be sold or consumed in 
the town and districts aforesaid, and report at the annual meeting 
in May the names of the persons so offending ; and a committee was 
accordingly chosen. 

Ordered, That the pi-oceedings of this town be recorded by the 
town-clerk, and forwai-ded by the Committee of Correspondence to 
the committee in Boston. 



No. 6. May 19, 1774. — At the adjournment of the annual May 
meeting, it was Voted, That the letter prepared by the Committee of 
Correspondence be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of this town to 
the town-clerk of Boston ; and is as follows : — 

LmcEflTEE, May 19, 1T74. 

Gentlemen, — Tours of the 12th instiint has come safe to hand ; 
which informs us of an act of the British Parliament for blocking up 
the hai-bor of Boston with a fleet of ships of war; prohibiting the en- 
trance or exportation of any sort of merchandise, on penalty of for- 
feiture of such goods and vessels which carry the same, so long as said 
act shall continue, or, in other words, until the Province of Massachu- 
setts Bay shall acknowledge the right of the British Parliament to tax 
them in all cases whatsoever; which, we hope, will never be complied 
with while there is an American living. 

The act referred to we have seen, and think it the most ai-bitrary of 



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APPENDIX. 445 

any that has been passed since the Revoiutton, — au act replete with spite 
and malice, and vesting hb miyesty with u right to the soil of America ; 
for if the said Parliament have power to invest liis majesty with a 
right to dispose of private property, or can assign and appoint any par- 
ticular quays or wharves for the landing or disehai'ging, lading and 
sliipping, of goods, as his majesty shall tiink proper, they may, with 
the same pi'opriety, pass an act prohibiting any town or husbandman 
from sowing grain, mowing grass, and feeding his pastures, so long as 
his majesty thinks proper. 

And the penalty is, that if any person offends in landing of goods or 
merchandise, or in the lading or putting them off at any other quay 
or wharf so appointed, they are to be forfeited, together with the ships, 
boats, cattle, and carriages which are used to convey the same. In 
like manner may they make a forfeiture of our houses, lands, cattle, 
&c., if we oifer to improve them, without his majesty's special license. 

"We hope, gentlemen, you will not be intimidated by this arbitrary 
act, although your town may suffer greatly ia its trade, and your poor 
— who maintained themselves by their daily labor — should be unem- 
ployed. We doubt not a kind Providence will find out a way for their 
suppoi-t, and that the other Colonies will stand by yon ; and we hope 
there is no town in this Province will be so ungrateful as to forsake 

The cause is interesting to all America; and all America must be 
convinced of this great truth, " By uniting, we shall stand." 

We hope and believe that Great Britain wiU be soon convinced that 
the Ame cans cin 1 ve as long w tho t the r trade as tl y can tl out 
ours. 

Tou ¥ 11 ee the nstruct ons given to the rep entat ve f tl s 
town and d t ct wh ch w 11 si o v tl e abho e ce the} 1 ve of ih 
forement oned act and Ye bel eve hyvll,, cjo lltles ppo t 
in their po ver 

We are, gentlemen, with esteem, 

Your friends and fellow-countrymen, 

Wm. Hensiiaw, per order. 



No. 7. July fl, 1774. — At a town-meeting legally warned and 
assembled, — 

Voted, That there he a committee appointed to draw up resolves, 
formed on the sentiments of the town and districts, on the present 



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446 HISTORY or Leicester. 

melancholy situarion of this country ; and that the following persons be 
a committee for that purpose : viz., Thotnaa Denny, Joseph Henshaw, 
and Joseph Allen, of Leicester; James Draper and Joseph Wilson, of 
Spencer ; Oliver Witt and Ralph Eade, of Paxton. 

Voted Th'jt the report ot the committee fo di m hti ig tl e r he 
be accepted which is as follows — 

At a meeting of the fieehoHejs and other mhabfmt'i of the town 
of Leicester and districts of Spencer and Paxton on the sixth diy of 
Jul) 1774 — not tumultuoijsl} riotously oi seditiously, but sobeily 
and senously, aa men as fieemen and is Chiistians — to Uke into 
our consideiation the piesent di'-Creseed stale of our iftaiis the hflibor 
of OUT metropolis blodtaded with in armed force whereby no ti-ade or 
commerce is suflered to be earned on and they with us prevented 
the common means of proeunng suppo t great ni.mbers in the town 
of Boston sufienng bv this meins ioi their daily breal om General 
A'i.erably diBSolvel f r resolving upon a method to reconcile the diftfi 
ence between Gieat Biitain and the Colonies so eaine t!y desired by 
eveiy good man 

We are threatened with acts of Pailiament to ovettum i.ur Con 
sUtution, to desti-03 the Democratic pait tlieietf and fo establish ab 
solute monaii-hy — which threatens tyianny ind the inhal itints of 
this Province with slavery Aftei seuouaiy debating and considenng 
the deplorable circumstances we aie m and ihieatened to be brought 
mto by aa act of the British Piihiment tor blocking up the harbor 
of Boston which is repugninfc to e\eiy idea of justice is puttmg 
themselves into a state of wtr with said town depriving its inhibi 
tants with evety other part of the Province who \is inclined to use 
tiade in said port of those pnvileges, for the support and convenience 
of their famdies whii.b God and nature hath gH en them and hith a 
direct tendency to alienate the iffections ot the people of this Piovince 
ind the other Colonies on the continent fiom the mothei eountiy an! 
to create discord and confusion — 

Under thes embirraasmenti we thinl it our dutj lo tike intc (,on 
sideratioa the constitution ot goveinment weareunlei and leco^mze 
those rights and privdefees whith we do oi ought to enjoj that pos 
ter ty m ly know what oui claims aie and to what stiuj, les we aie 
called in defence of them. 

Our forefathers came into this land when it was a howling wilderness, 
inhabited only by savages, of whom they purchased the soil without the 
assistance of any other power or state. They took the King of Great 



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APPENDIX. 44T 

Bnfain, or vihoever should be King of Engiand, to be their king, uncler 
SHLh liniitatioiT-, restrictions, and regulations as by a charter, under the 
&re)t Seal granted by King Charles II., was stipulated and agreed; 
which chatter, in the arbitrary reign of King James, was forcibly 
and wrongfally wi-ested from the Colooy : and afterwards another was 
gi anted by King "William and Queen Mary of glorious memory, which 
charter laid the foundation of the present constitution of government 
m this Pi o\ ince , wherein it is granted and conlii-med under the Great 
Seal, that the King shall appoint the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, 
and Seci eCary , and that there shall be held and kept by the Governor 
a General Court, or Assembly, on the last Wednesday of May, for ever ; 
which General Court, or Assembly, shall consist of the Governor, 
Council, and such freeholders as shall be from time lo time elected 
and deputed by the several towns in the Province ; which Assembly 
shall choose twenty-eight councillors yearly, and eveiy year for ever 
thereafter. 

And it is fui-ther ordained by said Royal Charter, that the General 
Court shall have full power and authority (o erect and constitute 
judicatories, and courts of records, to be held in the name of the 
king, for the hearing, trying, and determining all manner of crimes, 
offencea, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, causes, and things whatso- 
ever, arising or happening within the Province ; and also with full 
power and authority, from time to time, to make, ordain, and establish 
all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, direc- 
tions, and instructions, either with penalties or without (so as the same 
be not repugnant or contrary to the laws of the realm of England), as 
they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the Province, and 
for the governing and ordering thereof, and of the people inhabiting 
or who may inhabit the same, and for the necessary support and 
government thereof. 

And, further, it is granted and ordained, that the Great and General 
Court shall impose and levy proportionate rates and taxes upon the 
estates and persons of all and every of the inhabitants of the Pro- 
vince, to be issued and disposed of for the necessary defence and sup- 
port of the government of the Province. And therein it is further 
ordained, that the Governor, with the advice and consent of the 
Council, shall from time to time appoint judges, sheriflfe, justices of the 
peace, and other officers belonging to the King's Court. And further, 
that all and every of the subjects of the king, which go lo inhabit said 
Province, or be born there, shall have and enjoy all the liberties and 



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448 HISTORY or Leicester. 

immunities of free and naturtl "juIjc 1:4 to iH int^-nt': eon tiuction 
and pmpo=ea whatsoeiei as it thej and eveiy ot them were bora 
wi thill tlip realm of England 

As the charter afoieaaid is the biais of the uvil constitution ot 
government in thii Piovinte we hold the same is sacied and thit 
no power on eaith whilsoevei hath iight oi lufhontj to disannul oi 
revoke siid charter or any of it oi abjidge the inhabiUnts of the 
Province of any of the powers, privileges, or immunities, therein stipu- 
lated or agreed to be holden by every person inhabiting said Province ; 
and therefore we, the inhabitants of the town of Leicester and districts 
of Spencer and Paxton, in town-meeting assembled, do now, both in 
our coi-porate and separate capacities, claim, assert, and demand the 
said powei-s, privileges, and immunilJea as our indefeasible rights ; and, 



Voted and Resolved, That any person, power, or state, that shall 
attempt or endeavor, by any means whatsoever, to destroy or nullify 
said ehai-ter, either in whole or in pai-t, and, to effect such design, 
ahaU attempt to deprive the people of this Province, or any of them, 
of said powers wid privileges stipulated and granted in the charter, 
is an enemy to the Province, and thereby puts him, her, or them, into 
a state of war with the Province and every inhabitant thereof; and 
ought to be so esteemed, and ti-eated accordingly. 

Voled and Eesolved, That no power, state, or potentate, have right 
io make laws, orders, statutes, or ordinances, for the internal police of 
this his majesty's Province, but the Legislature established within the 
same, as set forth and ordained in the charter; or to repeal, nullify, or 
make void, any law or laws already made by the Legislature thereof 
(excepting the king, as stipulated in said charter, in a limited time), 
but the same Legislature which made them : and, therefore, any law 
made for that purpose by any other power, state, or potentate, is, ipso 
facto, null and void, and ought to be esteemed so by evei7 inhabitant 
in the Province. 

Eesolved, That every court or judicatory set up for the hearing and 
determining of any crimes, offences, actions, caases, or things whatso- 
ever, that may arise within this Province, other than such as have been 
or may be established by the charter or by tlie laws of the Province, 
is, in our opinion, unconstitutional and illegal ; and eveiy judgment, 
decree, or detemination, entered up or made by such court, is void : 
and that the inhabitants of this Province ought not to submit fo, or 
pay any regard to, such judgment or determination; and that every 



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APPEKDIX. 449 

officer, endeavoring to put into execution any judgment or determination 
^o enleied u[ bj such court ought to be lesisted bj eveiy inhabitant 
of the Pro\ ince and treated as a person endeavoring to ubvert the 
Constitution ol th 3 Piovince and the oider of judici-U proceedings 
therei; •- ■ ■ 



Resdied Ihat as the tiial by lunei ^•, ■x grind banier against 
arbtti'»tj power ind is the right of e^eiy subiect ot the King of Great 
Biitain (being gnnted by Magna Charta) whiLh right belongs to the 
mh^bitanta of this Province and that such jnrois be appointed and 
tho^en summoned and impanelled atxMrdmg to the laws ot this Pro- 
vince, and the usual tuotora ind practice therein and that a jury 
summoned called and imp'inelled by any othei method ji byviitue 
of any othei edict or liw wha1soe\er is illegal and it ih thi> duty of 
eveiy pei^on ■who mij be oummoned as a juioi by my othei way 
than the liwa of this Province to lefiise to obey such aummouB, or 
to refuse being imjanplled And fuither — 

Reiohed That any veidiot entered up b^ a jury summoned and 
impanelled in any other way than by the hws of this Piovince, and 
the ancient usige and custom of the ei-ecutivc comts is in our opinion, 
null and i oid 

Resolved That ne will to the utmost of oui power maintain and 
support the kings authontj in this Piovince, ■iccoiding to the charter 
afoiesaid and that we will to the utmost of our power e^el! lo the 
risk of our lives and tortunea support and maintain the execution of 
the hws of this Province, as established by the charter and the Legis- 
lature thereof 

Resolied That all person? pretending to be officei" who were not 
appointed accoiding to charter or the laws of this Piovince have no 
right to exetcise aueh office and therefore iiy prrion pretending 
to ofiiciate theiein ought to be resisted 

Rfs ked, That we will not by ourselvps or anj toi 1 v or under 
ns di e tly or indnectlj purchase any goods that may be imported 
from Gieat Biitain atter the fhiity fitst day of August next and that 
we will break off all commercial connections with any mei chant, trader, 
orfictor who shall import goods fiom Greit Bnlain into this Province 
after said time md that we will njt puiel a>e any goo Is of such trader 
who shdll puichase such goods, or ofFei 01 expose them fur sale, until 
the harbor of Boston be opened, and the tea-duty talien off, unless 
other measures for oui redress be recommended by General Con- 
gress. 

67 



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450 HISTORY Oy I.KICESTER. 

Hesohc I n iL It H tl e luiy of e^ erj \ '(oii i 1 itevcr, airived to 
age ot discretion as much as may be consistent with theii- business 
and ot^upation foi the support of their famihes to arisociate together, 
and discoui e an 1 infoim themselves of then nghts and privileges aa 
men as members of society -md the Enghsh Conolitulion ; that they 
may not be imposed upon by those men who look upon them with 
emy ind aie using e^eiy art to depuve the hbarnus part of man- 
kind of the fiiiit= MhiiOrtnhlor iTlwiht*-!nf n luxury on that 
of others 

Ko b &ept 29 1774 — At a meeting of the inhabiianta of 
I/cieestei anl the districts ol bpencer and Paxton, Mr. Thomas 
Denni was ciiosen to repesent them in the Gieit and General Cotirt 
to be convened at Salem in the LOintyol Essex on the fifth day of 
Octoler next 

ioted That instructions be eiven to the itpe entative, and that the 
following persons be a committee for dnu^lling them; viz.: Capt. 
Joseph Hensh'^w Cipt John Brown Joseph Allen, Deacon Muzzy, 
Di Ormes Phmehia Mooie nnd Capt Willaid Moore. 

loted That the foUomnf, instniUions attei beii^ read paragraph 
by pTTignph be given to the lepreaentative ■^i^ — • 

To Ml'. Thomas Denny. 

Sm, — Tour constituents cannot give jou a greater testimony of 
their confidence in joui integiilv md le-oliition than by re-electing 
you their representative at the ensuing Great and General Court, or 
Assembly, to be convened at Salem on Wednesday, the fifth day of 
October next, — a time which requiies the greatest prudence, on the 
one hand, to guard i gainst any unav wling obstinacy ; and, on the other 
hand, the utmost fiimness to aioid falling into any supine acquiescence 
derogatory of the rights to which the inhabitants of this Province are 
justly entitled. Tliey think piopei to give you the following instruc- 

In the first place, — agreeable to the recommendation of the Worces- 
ter Convention, — we instruct and strictly enjoin you that yon refuse to 
be sworn by any person except such aa may be appointed agreeable 
to the charter of this Province ; and likewise refuse to be sworn by the 
Lieutenant-Grovernor, who has talsen the oaths as a councillor by man- 
damus from the king. 

2, That you by no means act in conjunction with the Council ap- 



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APPKNIUX. 451 

pointed by mandamus from the king, or such of the councillors elected 
in May last who have since been sworn into said council. 

S. That you absolutely refuse to be adjourned to Boston, while that 
town is garrisoned with troops and surrounded with ships of war; and, 
should any thing impede your acting as a House at Salem, that you 
immediately repair to Concord, and join the Provincial Congress to 
be convened at said place on the second Tuesday in October next, and 
there to observe the instructions which may be given by ue, from time 
to time, for the rule of your conduct in that assembly. 

We would recommend that you join with those members which may 
be present at Salem in a body, to consult and detennine upon some 
proper plan of conduct, before you offer yourself to be sworn ; that so 
every member may regulafe his behavior accordingly. 



No. 9, Oct. 10, 1774. — At a meeting of the town of Leicester, and 
the districts of Spencer and Paston, — 

Voted, That Mr. Thomas Denny be the oaly person to represent 
this town at the ensuing Provincial Convention to be holden at Con- 

Tlie following instructions, drawn up by the committee chosen on 
the 29th September last, were separ.ately read, and accepted by said 
town and distiicts : — 

To Col. Thomas Dekby. 

Sir, — Tou are delegated by the town of Leicester, and districts of 
Spencer and Paxton, to repi'esent them at the ensuing General Con- 
vention, — an assembly in which, at this dark and difficult day, perhaps 
the most important business will come before you that was ever trans- 
acted since the settlement of NortJi America. No period since the 
Revolution has worn a more gloomy and alarming aspect. 

A serie of occunencps and e^enta iffotd gi eat reason to believe that 
a deep and desperate plan of deapoti-,m has been laid for the extinction 
of civil hbeity and which fhieatenf universal ha\oc Every thing 
now conspires to pmmpt the tull exeition ot ttue policy, valor, and 
intrepidity The choice youi constituents have mide in this day of 
trial, as it manifests then affection and confidence, so they doubt not it 
will excite your warmest attachment and closest attention to the com- 
mon cause ; and therefore communicate their sentiments to you in a few 
following particulars; — 



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452 HISTORY OF Ll^ICESTER. 

1st, That you teep those invaluable rights and libertiei, which have 
been handed down to us by our ancestors, ever near your heart. 
Charters have become bubbles, — empty shadows, without any certain 
stability or security: therefore we instruct that you oppose any mo- 
tions which may be made for patching up that under King William 
and Queen Mary. Aa the British Parliament have, by some late edicts, 
declared the most essential parts thereof null and void, and are, vi et 
armis, forcing their decrees, it behooves us to stand on the defensive : 
and as we are without form, and void, and darkness seems to cover the 
face of the land, we direct that your influence be employed, m the first 
place, towards establishing some form of government, courts of judica- 
ture, &c., as may be best adapted to our present circumstances ; re- 
membering, in this and every other transaction, to keep close to the 
advice you may, from time to time, receive from the Continental Con- 
gress, and avoid every act which may militate with their general plan. 

2d, That you endeavor to have the militia of the Province put on 
the most respectable footing, and that every town be supplied with one 
or more field-pieces, properly mounted, and furnished with ammunition. 
A mihiia, composed of the yeomanry and proprietors of the country, is 
its surest defence: therefore we esteem it a matter of the last necessity 
that they be properly disciplined, and taught the art of war, with all 
expedition, as we know not how soon we may be called to action. 

8d, As we esteem the Province treasury to be unsafe in the town of 
Boston while in its present disordered state, we instruct that you en- 
deavor for its removal to some place of safety remote from the capital; 
and that the treasurer be directed to exhibit his accounts of the treasuiy 
to be audited, and, in case of deficiency, that sufficient security be ob- 
tained therefor. 

4th, That you inquire by what authority the Lieu tenant-Gen era! 
has taken possession of the Common-land within the limits of Boston, 
— being the property of that town, — and require the intrenchments 
there made to be demolished, and the fortification at the entrance of 
the town to be dismantled. Also by what authority the powder in the 
Arsenal at Cbarlestown was removed, the carriages belonging to 
the train of artillery in Boston seized and detained, witli many other 
acts of rapine and violence, which it is probable may be laid before you ; 
and make restitution therefor. 

5th, That you cause a just estimate to be made of the daily loss 
accruing to the town of Boston and the Province from the stoppage of 
their Wade, prohibition of water-carriage, and all other loss and damage 



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APPENDIX. 453 

of every kind, resulting in consequence of the operation of an act of the 
British Parliament for blockading the harbor of Boston and one other 
act for subverting the civil government ot this Piovince 

6th, That you use all suitable mpana to entourage art> and manu 
facturea, among us by granting premmma oranyothei wajs which miy 
be most conducive lo this end, — one of which we apptehend to be by 
devising some effectual method for the atnct and religious obser* inee 
of the non-consumption agreement so generally entered into througli 
this Province ; and also by promoting the continental plan for the en 
tire prevention of all imports and expoito to and from Great Biitain 
and, should it be judged necessary, the English Wesf Ind a I hnds 

7th, That you promote a friendly ind infim ite coire^poiden e with 
our sister Colonies of Canada, JSo^a Scotia &,c thit so the whole 
continent of North America, as they hive one common cau^>e an 1 in 
terest, may thereby unite in the same meTaurea We aie not in dtui t 
at this day, how essential a point oui enemies esteem it to divide us 
that we may fall an easy prey; and suiely our solicitude tor a atnct 
union ought to be proportionate to Ihe i oppoait on es[ ecially when wi. 
consider how difficult large bodies a e b onght to unite m one and the 
same sentiments, while our enemies, with a single Jiat, are ready with 
their whole force to rush upon us. 

8th, That those contumacious persons, who, in defiance of the groans 
and entreaties of their fellow-countrymen, have obstinately persisted in 
their resolutions to endeavoi, so far as in them lay, the desti-ucfion of 
that civil government under which they have been protected (and many 
of whom liave been cherished and grown wanton witli its smiles), by 
being sworn and acting as councillors by mandamus fiom the king, in 
direct violation of the charter, together with such others who have 
proved themselves notoriously inimical to their country, be apprehended, 
and secured for trial. 

9th, That, as amidst all the trouble and difficulties from the hands of 
wicked men under which we groan, we have experienced many and 
great fevors from the Jiand of God, in the course of the year past, by 
discovering the machinations of our enemies, whereby we have in some 
measure frustrated their designs; by permitting no epidemical disease 
to pass through the land ; by giving a suitable seedtime, a plenteous 
harvest, and crowning the year with His goodness. 

These and many other instances of the divine favor demand our 
most grateful recognition; and we should be still more unworthy of 
them, should we, by too close an attachment to our present difficulties, 



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454 msTORV of Leicester. 

neglect to offer our tribute of praise and thanksgiving therefor to that 
Being from whom alone must come all our lielp. We instruct that joa 
endeavor that a day may be set apart for this religious purpose. 

10th, There is no doubt but many other matters than what are above 
enumerated will come under your consideration. As they do not at 
pre-sent occur, we must leave them to your judgment. 

Confiding in your prudence and unshaken resolution, we commend 
you, and the concerns you are intrusted with, to the divine protection 



No. 10. Jan. 9, 1775. — At a meeting of the town and districts 
aforesaid, Voled, That Joseph Allen, Capt. Waj^hburn, Deacon Muzzy, 
Dr. Frink, and Capt. Samuel Green, be a committee to draw insti-uc- 
tions for the member chosen. 

Voted, That the instructions be accepted ; which are as follows ; — 



To CoL JosBPH Hebshaw. 

Sib, — You are delegated this day, by the town of Leicester and 
district of Spencer, to represent Ihem at the ensumg Provincial Con- 
gress. The distress of the counli'y, arising from the ruinous system 
of Colony administration adopted ten or twelve years past, has got to 
that height as will require the whole united wisdom and firmness of 
the Congress to remove. 

We, your constituents, instruct and require that you promote with 
all your influence any plan for (he common good which may be gene- 
rally adopted by the Congress ; and, considering the present situation 
of the Province, — its defenceless, loose, disjointed state, and the appa- 
rent danger of its sinking into anarchy and confusion, — do particularly 
instruct that you urge an immediate assumption of government, as 
the only means by which we may be reduced to order, and the laws 
of the Province have their usual and uninterrupted course; remem- 
bering in this to keep as near the charter as the perplexed state of 
the Province will admit, and to have the measures of the American 
Congress in constant view, so that both may co-operate for the general 

Particular matters will no doubt tui-n up in the course of the ses- 
sion, which as we, your constituents, are not now apprised of, so cannot 
particularly instruct ; but, confiding in your integrity and resolution, we 
commend you and the concerns you are intrusted with lo the divine 



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APPENDIX. 455 

No. 11. July 13, 1775. — At a meeting of the inhabitants of the 
town of Leicester, Voted to give instructions to their representative. 

Voted, That Joseph Allen, William Green, Capt. Samuel Green, 
Joseph Henshaw, and Joseph Sargent, be a committee to frame the 
instructions. 

Voted, That the following instructions he accepted : — 

To Ml'. Hkzkktah Waud, RepreBantatiys of Uia Town of Leicester. 

SiE, — At this most critical and important period, on wlilch are 
suspended the happiness op ruin of British America, you are called 
by the suffi-ages of your townsmen to represent them in tlie ensuing 
General Assembly of this Province. 

To this important now, posterity will look back either with joy and 
admiration, secure in the possession of their inestimable liberties ; or 
with tlie keenest sensations of grief, while they drag the galling chaiu 
of servitude. 

Since the settlement of America, no period has been so replete 
with great and interesting events as the present ; and it will i-equire 
the utmost exertions of the human mind to counteract the designs of 
our enemies. 

On these considerations, we think proper to give you the following 
instructions; visf. : — 

1st, It is our will, and we do instruct you, that you govern yourself 
by resolves and orders of the Continental Congress in all mattei-s for 
which that honorable body shall give directions. 

2d, That, in tlie establishment of government, you use your influ- 
ence, in the most open and unreserved manner, that such pereons be 
excluded from auy share therein who have shown themselves inimical 
to the rights of their country ; and likewise those far more dangerous 
still, and more to be despised, who, waiting the tide of events, have, 
with a modesty peculiar to themselves, declined to support the just 
claims of their country in opposition to the tyrants who would enslave 
it r hut that you exert your utmost abihties that such persons be ap- 
pointed to offices of trust as have discovered themselves to be men of 
religion and virtue, and at the same time of penetration, genius, and 
knowledge ; who have uniformly stood forth the resolute defenders of 
the rights of their country. 

3d, That you view with a jealous yet candid eye the disposition 
and motions of the American Army ; always remembering the im- 
portance of preserving the superiority of the civil power over that of 



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456 HISTORY or leicestek. 

the military; as an inattention to this might possibly involve us in 
still greater and more complicated calamities tlian we have jet exjie- 
rieiiced. 

4tl]. That you endeavor, so far as in you lies, that the laws of this 
Provinue for suppressing vice and immoralities of all kinds be reli- 
giously put into execution, and that the hands of the civil officers be 
strengthened by all the aid and countenance that may be necessary to 
affi>rd (hem. 

5th, "We instruct that you use your influence to obtain a just esli- 
mate of the loss and damage sustained by tliis Colony through the 
operation of several late acts of the British Parliament, from the com- 
mencement of the Boston Port Bill ; tliat such estimate may remain 
on file, and, if no other compensation can be obtained, it may hereafter 
be brought info an average loss on the whole continent. 

(There was a committee appointed by a late Congress for this pur- 
pose, which reported the loss until toward the close of the iast year; 
which report wat ordered to lie on the table. Should you obtain 
a vote to have tliis matter committed, that report may ser^-e as a 
guide.) 

6th, That, as in our opinion the Fee Bill is very unequal, we instruct 
that you use your endeavors that such fees as are too low may be 
raised, and those which are too high may be reduced, 

As your proceedings will be generally under the direction of the 
American Congress, so we cannot be more particular in giving you 
instructions ; but, praying for the favor of Heaven on 
the General Assembly, we corariiend you to the divine blessii 



No. 12. May 22, 1776. — At a meeting of the town of Leicester, 
Voted, That Col. Joseph Henshaw, Joseph Allen, Richard Southgate, 
Capl. Samuel Green, and Capt. Jonatiian Newhall, be a committee to 
prepare instructions to tlieir representative. The instructions are as 
follows : — 

To Capt, Seth Wasubuek. 

HiB, — The town of Leicester having made choice of you to repre- 
sent it at the General Court the ensuing year (in the course of which, 
'tis more than probable, the most resolute exertions of the court may 
be called forth to defend the Colony against the force of the British 
king and ministij), your constituents ai-e of opinion that temporary 



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APPENDIX. 457 

appointments, sufficient for the peace, order, and defence of the Colony 
during the present contest, would have answered more vakiahle ; as, 
should the Honorable Congress declare an independence on the king- 
dom of Great Britain, and foi'm a system of government which may 
be adopted by the continent, some future court might be under the 
necessity of undoing most or all the last has done. 

When measures are hastily adopted, and as often revoked, it dis- 
covers that stability to he wanting which alone can confer dignity or 
secure authority. Therefore your constitueata, to prevent, as much as 
they may, such mistaies taking place again, instruct you that you pay 
the strictest attention to every question which may be agitated in the 
House, and digest it well in your own mind before you give your 

That you use your utmost endeavor to obtain a repeal of the act 
providing for more equal representation in the General Court, 

Tonr constituents view this act as having a manifest tendency to 
create a jealousy and opposition between the trading and landed inte- 
rest of the Colony, at a time when it is universally confessed that 
unanimity (under God) is what we must depend on for safety. 

Your constituents flatter themselves, that the good people of the 
Colony wiU not generally increase their number of representatives ; 
which would he, moreover, a great additional charge to that which is 
now and will be necessarily incurred for the defence of the Colony; 
and therefore the strictest economy, consistent with our safety, ought lo 
be observed. 

That you endeavor to have the form prescribed in the Test Act for 
subscription explained or altered. You are sensible, sir, what uni- 
versal uneasiness the clause for complying with such requirements and 
directions of the laws of this Colony as now are, or may hereafter he, 
provided for the regulation of the militia, occasioned in your town. 

Your constituents esteem it as nnadviaed and ill-timed. They know 

d h m o people have paid 

am h be n to the land than the 

p C d rr h late court should, 

b m d id disti-iist of their 

fid 1 na w it was principally 

ij g hose conduct deno- 

m d h T h . Moreover, they 

d w h very pernicious 

eo and h m m he Test Act, without 



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458 HISTORY or Leicester. 

the foremenljoned clause, would have answereiJ all the eads and pur- 
poses of the test. 

Ton are likewise instructed to hear your testimony against the same 
persons filling places of great imporlance in the legislative and execu- 
tive departmeats, the incongruity of which needs no comment. 

Tour constituents understand from report, that the lat« court had in 
contemplation the stopping-up the harbor of Boston, by sinking hulks 
in the channel to prevent the enemies' ships passing to the town. 
Should sucli motion be acted on, you are instructed to oppose il. "We 
can think of one case only, which, ia our opinion, would justify the 
measure ; viz., when there is sudden danger of a sndden attack, and no 
time to make a regular defence. 

Stopping the harbor of Boston your constituents consider as an 
effectual melhod to ruin the trade, sink the value of estates, and de- 
populate the town, as if the enemy had reduced it to ashes before their 
departure ; and, the town being depopulated, it is not material whether 
it was accomplished by fire or water. "When trade has once forsook 
its old course, and forced a new channel, its recovery may be de- 
spaired of. 

Therefore, considering the loss this Colony in particular has 
sustained hy the loss of the trade of its capital, and the consequent 
reduction of estates, your constituents cannot consent that their repre- 
Bentatives should be aiding in a measure, which, in our opinion, would 
further greatly injure that town, and the Colony in general. 

As America is threatened, and we may soon expect a formidable 
force will be employed to accomplish our ruin, we ai-e alarmed at the 
apprehensions, since the enemy have evacuated the metropolis and the 
Continental Army removed to the southwai'd, that so few forces have 
been raised to secure and defend that important place ; for, should the 
enemy return to repossess themselves of the town, its kst state, in 
which the Colony is deeply involved, would be infinitely worse than 
the former. 

"Wherefore we strictly enjoin it on and instruct you, that you move 
for a re-enforcement of ti-oope, to be immediately raised, suificient to 
complete the fortifications and defead the town, should an attack be 
made thereon, til! reHef could be had fi-om the standing militia of the 
Colony. 

May 23, 1776. — At a meeting of the freeholders and other inhabi- 
tants of Leicester, duly warned, it was Voted by the inhabitants tlien 



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APPENDIX. 



459 



pveseat, unammoTtslg, Tliat, in case the Honorable the Continental Con- 
gress should declare these Colonies independent of Gi'eat Britain, tliey 
would support said Congress in effectuating such a measure, al the risk 
of their lives and fortunes. 

A true entry. Attest, 

Jos. Allen, Toivn Ohrh. 



No. 7, — Town-GlerJcs, and Selectmen before 1821. 



1. Towb-Cleeks. 

Nathaniel Eichardson, 1722. 
John Potter, 1723. 
Daniel Denny, 1724-1726. 
Joshua Nichols, 1727-1732. 
Josiah Converse, 1733-1736. 
John Whittemore, 1737-1749. 
John Whittemore, 1751-1761. 
David Henshaw, 1750. 
Thomas Steele, 1762-1769. 
William Henehaw, 1770-1771 and 

1773. 
Thomas Denny, 1772. 
Thomas Denny, 1784-1786. 
Joseph Allen, 1774-1777. 
John Southgate, 1778-1779. 
John Lyon, 1780. 
Hezetiah Wai-d, 1781-1783. 
Austin Flint, 1786-1800. 
Nathaniel P. Denny, 1801-1813. 
John Wilder, 1814. 
Joaeph Denny, 1813. 
Edward Flint, 1816-1823. 
Emory Washburn, ia26. 
Joseph A. Denny, 1827. 
John Sargent, 1828-1849. 
Joseph A. Denny, 1850-1860. 



•Samuel Green, 1722-1724, 

*John Smith, 1722, 1724, 1726, 

1730. 
•Nathaniel Eichardson, 1722, 
*JohnLynde, 1722-1723,1732, 

1736, 1742. 



1727- 
1729- 



James Southgate, 1722-1726, 1734- 

1736, 1739. 
•John Menzies, 1723-1724. 
John Potter, 1723, 1727. 
'Eietiard Southgate, 1725-1731, 

1736. 
Thomas Newhall, 1725-1726, 1731, 
Benjamin Johnson, 1723, 1733, 

1738-1739, 1743, 1749. 
•Daniel Denny, 1725-1726, 1728- 

1731, 1734-1735, 1737-1739, 

1741, 1743, 1748, 1750-1751, 

1756. 
Thomas Eichardson, 1727-1731, 

1735-1736, 1741. 
Joshua Nichols, 1727, 1742, 1744. 
James Wilson, 1730, 1746-1748, 

1751. 
William Brown, 1728, 1736. 
John Saunderson, 1732, 1740. 
•John Whittemore, 1732-1734, 1739, 

1742-1743, 1747-1749, 1751. 
'Josiah Converse, 1733-1736. 
Nathaniel Green, 1737-1738, 1744. 
Samuel Capen, 1737-1738. 
•Benjamin Tucker, 1787-1739, 1742- 

1744, 1746-1751, 1758, 1760- 

1763. 
Peter Sylvester, 1737. 
•Christopher J. Lawton, 1740-1741. 
Jonathan Witt, 1740. 
Samuel Brown, 1740-1741. 
Jonathan Sai-gent, 1740. 
•Thomas Steele, 1741, 1752-1755, 

1758-1759, 1761-1764, 1767- 

1768. 
Luke Lincoln, 1742-1744, 1746- 

1747. 
Samuel Gai-field, 1745. 
John Smith, jun,, 1745. 



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HISTORY Ol' 



Moses Smia, 1745, 1750, 1752- 

17o3. 
•Nathaniel Goodspeed, 1745-1748, 
1755, 1758-1759, 1764-1766. 
John Brown, 1746, 1749-1750, 1754, 
1756-1757, 1760-1760, 1763, 
1766. 
Nathaniel Waite, 1749, 1752-1755, 

1759. 
•Daniel Henshaw, 1750-1751, 1755- 
1757, 1760-1762, 1764-1766. 
Samuel Stower, 1752-1753. 
WUliam Green, jun., 1752-1754, 

1763, 1766-1768, 1775-1777. 
John Fletcher, 1754, 1767-1768. 
Oliver Witt, 1755-1757, 1760-1762, 

1764. 
John Lynde, jun., 1756. 
•Benjamin Bade, 17S7. 
•JonathanNewhall, 1767-1759,1761- 

1765, 1774. 
•Thomas Denny, 1765-1766, 1769- 

1772. 
John Dunbar, 1767. 
•Wiiliam Henshaw, 1767-1772, 1779, 

1782, 1784-1786. 
Ephraim Mower, 1768. 

•Seth Waahbum, 176H-I773, 1775, 

1792. 
•Samuel Denny, 1769, 1773, 1775- 
1777, 1779-1780, 1782-1786, 
1787. 
itohert Craig, 1769, 1771, 1775. 
•Samuel Green, 1770, 1772, 1774, 
1776-1777, 1780, 1782-1786, 
1788-1792, 1794, 1796. 1798. 
Nathan Sargent, 1770-1771. 
Edward Bond, 1772. 
James Bald%yin, 1773-1775. 
•Thomas Newhall, 1773, 1778-1781, 

1783, 1785-1786, 1789-1792, 
1797-1798. 

Isaac Choate, 1774. 
•Joseph Sargent, 1774, 1776, 1781- 

1784, 1787-1788. 
•Hezekiah Ward, 1774, 1778-1779, 
1781-1782, 1784. 
William Watfion, 1776, 1786-1788, 



1790-1792, 1799, 1800-1801, 

1803. 
Loring Lincoln, 1777. 
Joseph Allen, 1777. 
-HonryKing, 1778, 1791-1794, 1798. 
John Southgate, 1778-1779, 1783, 

1793. 
James Baldwin, jmi., 1778. 
John Lyon, 1780. 
Dr. Isaac Green, 1780. 
Peter Taft, 1781. 
Ebenezer Upham, 1781. 
•Edwai'd Rawson, 1784-1785, 1787- 

1790. 
Jonathan Sargent, 1787-1788. 
•David Henshaw, 1789, 1793-1796, 

1798-1799, 1802, 1806-1807, 
•Thomas Denny, 1789-1791, 1793- 

1794, 1796, 1799-1801, 1803, 

1811-1812. 
Timothy Sprague, 1793, 1795-1707, 

1799-1801. 
Knight Sprague, 1795, 1797. 
Benjamin Watson, 1795. 
Thomas Parker, 1795. 
Richard Bond, 1796-1797. 
Nathan Waite, 1797. 
William Sprague, 1798. 
Sarauet Trask, 1799-1800. 
•John Sargent, 1800-1806, 1811- 

1816, 1820. 
•Austin Flint, 1801-1805, 1813- 

1830. 



1811, 1819. 
•Samuel Waite, 1804^1810. 

Andrew Scott, 1804-1805. 

Daniel Hubard, 1806-1810. 

Jonathan Earle, 1807-1808. 

Darius Cutting, 1808-1810. 
•Nathaniel P. Denny, 1808-1814. 

Samuel D. Watson, 1812, 1815- 
1820. 

Daniel McFarland, 1812-1813. 

John King, 1813-1820. 

Henry Sargent, 1814, I817-I820. 

Jonah Earle, 1815-1818. 



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APFENDIX. 



No. 8. — Location of Roads. 

I have selecfed a few of the roails early laiil out, a* ihe reaclipsl: uny 
of piesenting to the reader, whose curiosity may lead him to the in- 
quiry, the condilion at the time, and the geographical appearance, of 
the town, by the objects referred to in making these localJons. 

The earliest of these is the one leading north from the Meeting- 
house, laid out May 3, 1721. "Beginning from the Common-land, 
behind the Meeting-house, at a black-iiirch. striped, and standing by a 
great red oak ; from thence straight down to a great black oak, standing 
a little from the swamp ; from thence to a black oak in the swamp j 
from thence to a blaclc oak by the side of the hill, two standing to- 
gether ; from thence to a double oak upon the rise of the hill ; and from 
thence to an oak-stump upon the ledge above Caries Swamp ; from 
thence to a great black oak; and from thence to an oak sapling near 
against Arthur C'arii's rise ; all striped ; and the road to go on the west 
side of them all," By this it appears that it must have been a forest 
from the Meeting-house to the top of Cai-ey's Hill. Carey's Swamp is 
just east of Mrs. Newhall's. 

The " Country Road," from Worcester to Spencer, was laid out by 
the town, Oct. 5, 1723. "From Chestnut Hill to the Meeting-house 
shall be four rods in breadth, as it is now marked on both sides of the 
way ; with and under this alteration, — that that part of the aforesaid 
road below Mr. Denny's house, towards the brook, shall be measured 
from his fence on the south side of his house, four rods wide, all along 
southward of said fence until it comes to the brook at the bridge ; 
and then the road is to run as marked out from that bridge, all along 
to Richai-d Southgate's, of the above-mentioned width, and Daniel 
Denny is to alter his fence where it encroaches thereupon ; and, from 
Richard Southgate's house, along in that way which was formerly in 
use when the town was laid out, and hath now trees marked on the 
north and north-east sides thereof all along, and which, in like manner, 
is to be four rods wide, and Mr. Southgate's fence is to be altered, and 
the road, as now designated, to be cleared for the convenience of belter 
passing with horse and teams ; and so to Nathaniel Richardson's house ; 
and from that to the said Meeting-house, by the old road up the hill, as 
now in use, witjiout taking any notice of the trees within John Smilh's 
fence, though fonnerly marked ; and from the Meeting-house along by 
Judge Menzies' fence, as Deacon Southgate shall think lit; and from 



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462 HISTORY OF LEICESTER, 

that fence to William Brown's house, as it is, all along, marked upon 
trees on tlie same, on tike north and north-west side of the road; and 
from said "William Brown's house to Oliver Watson's, as mai-ked : all 
■which roads are to be at least four rods wide." 

The houses referred to in the above, as then standing, were Daniel 
Denny's, where Euiiis Upham lately lived ; Richard Southgate's, north- 
west from where John Southgate lived, — the house now gone; Na- 
thaniel Bichaid n the h use opposite to the present Catholic Church. 
John Smith Ida n the east side of Meeting-house Hill. Wil- 
liam Brown wis n M unt Pleasant, lately belonging to Col. Henry 
Sargent, kno n a tl Mower House, 

The " Oxf d Koad f om the Great Road to the Capt, Gloason 
Place, was la d u Tuly 20 1724. " Began at a heap of stones, and a 
birch stake there erected by said selectmen, at the corner on the east 
side of said road, just over a slow, westerly of the Pound ; the said 
course being there marked also with a birch stake in said heap of stones, 
with three chops in said stake on the west side, aud then running from 
thence southerly to a black-oak free, seven foot to the east of said tree, 
and making it up three rods wide west of s^d tree, which tree is marked 
with three chops on the west and south, — said tree was about six or 
seven rods from the abovesaid corner; and from, thence to another 
hiack-oak tree, three rods east of said tree, which tree stands betwixt 
the aforesaid tree and the house where John Armstrong now lives ; 
and from thence to Benjamin Johnson's fence, on the east side of the 
i-oad, tliree rods from said fence, near by the said Johnson's house ; and 
so along by the west end of said house to a young chestnut-tree, betwixt 
the house where the said Johnson now lives and the house where John 
Peters foiinerly lived, three rods to the east of said tree, being marked 
with a spot above said chops upon the east side of said tree ; and from 
thence to a large chestnut-tree standing westerly by the house of 
Thomas Pierce, three rods westerly of said tree, being marked on 
the westward side ; and from thence southerly to a black-oak tree, 
near by the house of Thomas Hopkins, three rods to the west of said 
tree." 

The Charlton Road, from Capt. Gleason's to Green's MiU, was laid 
out November, 1724. Begins at a black oak near tlie house of Thomas 
Hopkins ; thence to three chestnuts ; thence to a red oak ; thence to a 
clump of red oaks ; thence to a red oak ; thence to a black oak ; thence 
to a gray oak ; thence to a large black oak ; thence to another large 
black oak, near a slow, westerly of the Widow Watson's house ; thence 



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APPENDrx. 463 

to a young red oak ; thence to another I'ed-oak free j thence to a black 
oak ; thence to another black oak ; and so on to a smal! white oak ; a 
black oak ; a black oak, " juat Tip the pitch of tlie Li^ermore Hill ; " 
a black oak ; " thence to a pitch-pine on the top of the hill ; " and so on, 
from one tree to another, "until it comes to two pines," — "the said 
pines standing neai- said Livermore's house ; " then by trees, &:c, " to 
"William Green's orchard fence, three rods to the eastward of said fence ; 
and so along by said Green's fence, as it now stands, on the westerly 
side of said road, to a black-oak ti-ee;" thence to other trees, "to a 
black oak aJmost at the entering of Thomas Richardson's ; and from 
thence to a black oak ; and from thenee to a black oak ; and so includ- 
ing the causeway that is by Thomas Richardson's fence;" thence by a 
succession of trees desci'ibed ; " and so along to Capt. Samuel Green's 
cornmill," The road was laid out three rods wide. 

By this description, it will appear that the road was laid, all the 
way, through the primitive forest, except near Mrs. Watson's (whose 
house was about twenty rods north-east of the house formerly of Capt. 
"William Watson), at Jonas Livermore's at the foot of Livermore Hill, 
at "William Green's orchard, where Amos Whittemore lately lived, 
and at Thomas Eichardson's (aftei-wards the Baptist Pai-sonage) ; and 
that these were the only inhabitants, at that time, between Thomas 
Hopkins's (Capt Gleason's) and Green's MUIs. 

The road fi-om Green's Mills to Charlton line was laid out in Febru- 
ary, 1745. " Began at Leicester south line, adjoining land of Thomas 
Pai'ker, near about the way which is used for a cart-way, where we 
marked a black-oak tree, on the west side of said way, with two chops 
facing said way, and supposed to be in the land of Mr. Bodwin (Bow- 
doin). We i-an along northerly till we came on the land of Mr. Boams 
(Bourne) ; and so along till we came to Dr. Green's land; and, on the 
eighteenth day of February cun-ent, met again, and marked the way 
through Dr. Green's land. "We began to near said Green's wolf-pit, 
a little south of said pit ; and so along noith a few rods east of said 
pit; and so along ; and then easterly through said Green's improve- 
ments ; and came into the way formerly laid out, at the south-east 
comer of Dr. Green's garden." 

The road from the Southgate Place to the John King Place was 
laid out December, 1739. B^inning at the Country Eoad by Richard 
Southgate's ; then by the house (against the house to be two rods, all 
the rest of the way three rods, wide), by marked trees, to Thomas 
Steel's, across his pasture, to the northerly end of the stone wall by his 



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464 HISTORY OF LEICESTER. 

gavden ; and so by said wall ; ami, easterly, by side of said Steel's 
barn, extending southerly thi-ough said Steel's land by marked trees, 
through Bethune's land, across the way that leads to Oxford, to Wil- 
liam Green's. 

Steel's was the Ilenshaw Place ; Green's, the John King Place. 



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INDEX. 



Bald Hill, 31. 
Bnnk, 38. 

Baptist Society, 111. 
Bass, Joseph, 225, 263. 
Bells, chuTcb, 106. 
Blaok Tom, anecdote, 51. 
Bond's Tarern, description of, 138. 
Boundaries, original, S. 
present, 20. 
Bradish, SBlly, 141. 
Bi'adhnrst-Ealpli, 10. 
Brlsham, David, 185. 
Brown, Capt. John, 63, 271, 280, 306. 
Brace, Phinelias, 202. 
Bnnker-Hill Battle, 802. 
Buracoat Pond, 23. 

Ceesar Anguatua Finneraore, incident, 52 

Cajiada Expedition, 218. 

Card^inBineaa, 33. 

Carey Hill, 22. 

Cusiuilties, 132. 

Catholios, 119. 

Celebration, historical, US. 

Cellar-holas, 188. 

Cemeteries, 161. 

Census, 25. 

Chandler, John, IS. 

Chestnut Hill, 21. 

ChoHte, Fmncis, 133. 

Isaao, ISS. 
Clnpp, Joshua, 32, 106. 
Clarti, John, 11. 

Hev. Josiah, 199. 
Clocks, town, 108. 
Colored popalstion, 48. 
ComraitteeB of Safety and Correspond 

ence, 226, 321. 
Common, description of ancient, 137. 



Conkliu, Rev. Beiijiimin, 83, 3SI. 
Convention, Worcester, iji 1774, 281 
Convarsa, Josiah, 62, 85. 
Coolidge, Rev. Amos H., 101. 
Craig, Dr. Robert, ISl. 



Daggett, Dr. E. A., 184. 
DavBnport, Addinglon, 11. 

DelBgatea to conventions, 64, 2 



Dnmmei, Jeremiah, 10 

Eaile, James, 209. 

Phny, 33. 

Balpb, 207. 

Wmthrop, 204. 
Eoelesiastioai History, 70. 
EmigTBtion to other States, 17 
Lpiscopal Society, 117. 

Families, early, 64. 
Fmnemora, Ciesar An^nstuB, 
Fire company, 68, 150. 
Fires, 130. 
Fhnt, Or Austin, 181, 322, 33 

Di Edward, lfl4. 

Hon. Waldo, 188. 
F rt William Henry, masaacr. 
Foster, Bev. Bei^amin, 118. 



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